Mistakes I committed in school and what I’ve learned from it
1. Misunderstanding strict teachers
This is probably a protracted mistake of mine throughout my entire time as a student. I’m also pretty sure that many, if not all, are guilty with this. Consequently, I would first like to emphasize that when I say strict teachers in this context I am not talking about an imperious, severe and prejudiced educator. I am actually referring to teachers that we often label as “kill joys” or “too serious”; for reasons that they are adherents of order and exemplifies commitment to the learning process. Students most of the time misinterpret their teaching of discipline as cruelty. Again I am not inferring to any kind of abuse when I say discipline. Discipline here is in the sense that they prohibit and address deliberate acts of misconduct and insolence. Discipline in the sense that they establish firm and well their authority as teachers. Discipline in the sense that they affirm accomplishments and correct mistakes. Not only do they prop their students with decorum, but they also fuel their minds to strive for excellence grounded in equity.
Sounds a bit idealistic, isn’t it? I believe one of the reason why we are plagued with mediocrity is that we abhor the high standards of ideals and lazily settle for everything average. Nonetheless, I am aware that no human being could carry out such exemplary goals immediately and perfectly, but I am certain for I have seen it myself that there is an existence of a few that are truly inspired by and are set towards such goal. That is where the difference lies. Motives and goals.
My point, therefore, is to challenge our concept of what good teachers are. Remember that we go to school to learn, so it’s only right to expect teachers to teach. And if we are to be honest with ourselves, society is in dire need of discipline and sound teaching. What better way to start than in classrooms! I remember one of my “strict” teachers back in College and how she pursued the goal we’ve been talking about. In retrospect, I have realized that I learned the most in classes like hers. Sure we love our permissive professors, I sure did, and they are mostly lovely people, but winning the favor of students is not the foremost priority in teaching. I can now also testify that being “strict” doesn’t automatically compromises teacher-student relationship which is an important factor, too. Teaching with quality doesn’t need to be void of heart. Students need to be cared for and not just taught; it goes hand in hand. Again, it all goes back to motives and goals.
2. Obsessing over self-image
This mistake usually starts and escalates in high school. Those were the days where I ignorantly believed that puberty sits upon a throne where it chooses to bestow beauty and popularity to those least deserving. Majority of them are especially those who are already way up in the clouds to start with. But there are few whose physical beauty harmoniously blends with their amiable hearts. Either way, chosen or deprived, both are willing subjects to the asperity of self-image. This is the real tyrant. Although growing up indeed involves unstable phases, flood-full of questions, volatile confusions and other kinds of crisis that desperately needs to be addressed; however, in this article we are to be focusing particularly on self-image. If I were to define my most pressing thoughts when I was a student especially in high school, it would be self-image. I was honestly more interested in face powders, fashion trends, hair styles, and other means that we were made to believe will help in improving our self-image. Aside from material means, students scramble to successfully solicit admiration from fellow peers. There’s also this untold mentality that admiration from the opposite gender is more credible and flattering than those coming from the same gender. Students, therefore, considering the rampaging impulses of hormones and lack of discretion are the most vulnerable in this area. Sadly, many carries this enslavement even after graduation.
Secondly, let’s be clear that there’s nothing wrong in feeling beautiful and wanting to be loved. Those are legitimate desires that should be properly addressed. As a Christian, my worth is defined and secured by who Christ is and who I am now in Him. That is why no insult nor flattery could ever truly damage the security I have. I honestly wished that I knew of this truth back in high school because it would have saved me from a lot of heart aches.
Lastly, self-image is not inherently sinful, but if wrongly valued it could be detrimental to our whole being. Particularly as a student it can easily be thought as something that we should be constantly satisfying; offering our very dignity, sanity and even values as sacrifices to the pagan god of self-image. It is then safe to remember that pride imprisons, praises expires, lust kills, fake friends flee, and beauty fades. That is why I want to give a challenge to students (and graduates) to be more than a pretty face, more than the guys that like you or date you, and more than the level of popularity you have. Strive to be filled with meaning and not just frivolities. Do your responsibilities and seek answers. You may find yourself alone in that path but it will be worth it.
3. Using the “as long as I graduate,” excuse.
The ends justify the means---not! It’s alarming how this ideology permeates any atmosphere and not just in the classroom. It often lacks discretion and is void of moral values. It also blinds us with shortsightedness which means that we never consider the big picture and its purposes and consequences. Shortsightedness is somewhat a hedonistic fixation of the “now” regardless. In the classroom we can see this manifesting during examinations wherein students opt to slack off then cheat instead of study and be honest, believing that the important thing is for them to “pass.” The truth is they need to learn and not merely pass. Come to think of it, if you have learned then a passing grade is closer than you think. Grades are meant to reflect learnings and not replace it. To learn something is the ultimate goal of a student.
Consequently, students need to be reminded that proper education is vital to a good future. A passing grade won’t give you that, but a learned mind will. It’s also expedient to know that our character is actually more important than our proficiency. And come on! How about your parents’ hard-earned money that they selflessly invest in your studies? Not to mention their high hopes for you. Besides, dishonoring our parents is never a good thing. Here then is my last exhortation; do away now with that shortsightedness! Look at the big picture! Compete only with yourself. Make goals, dream dreams, and work hard and honest to get it, and never forget to be humble.
Soli Deo Gloria!