The career of a teacher is one of the most well known in the world. From an early age, we all know what a teacher does, why they do it, and as we get older, we’re told that it’s a secure job – one that has high pay, good holidays and is also considered easy.
However in society we constantly underestimate the role of a teacher. We forget that a teacher doesn’t waltz into school, sing the alphabet to infants, and walk out again later on that day. A teacher has to work hard to impart knowledge, and it’s certainly not something that everyone can do. The reality is that they spend half of their personal lives thinking about school, their pupils, and planning lessons and researching new teaching methods. At least, that’s what a good teacher does.
So what’s the difference between a good and a bad teacher? A good teacher doesn’t have to have all the answers. They treat the students with respect, they always say criticism so that it doesn’t feel like a criticism, they work their absolute hardest, but most of all, they encourage and they inspire. Personally, throughout my school life, which is soon to come to an end, the best teachers I have had were the ones that always encouraged me. They weren’t the ones who knew every Maths formula off by heart, or the ones who could quote all of Hamlet’s soliloquy of Act 3, Scene 1. The best teachers are the ones who aren’t just full of passion for their subject area, they’re also passionate about teaching – about the idea that a student will leave their classroom with new knowledge.
So if a teacher’s job is to encourage, then why is it that so many teachers discourage students? Recently in my school we had a talk from a guest speaker, who was a past pupil of the school, and who has made it big working in America. He mentioned that while he was in school, a teacher called two of the “messers” up to the front of the class, and announced to the class that in ten years time, nobody would want to be like them, even if they were considered cool at the time.
And that really got me thinking. Why is it that so many teachers believe that somehow, it’s acceptable to condemn a student because of their antics in their classroom? How dare they say that that person will never amount to anything, simply because they, as a teacher, have failed to interest them in their subject area, and have failed to get respect from them?
Have you ever been “condemned” by a teacher? Have you ever been shouted at and told that you will never amount to anything? Albert Einstein, for example, didn’t speak until he was four years old, and didn’t read until he was seven years old. Eventually he was expelled from school. It’s interesting that this person, who was completely dismissed by the education system, went on to win the Nobel Prize and and change the face of modern physics.
Thomas Edison was once told by a teacher that he was “too stupid to learn anything”. Winston Churchill, one of the most renowned British Prime Minister’s of the 2oth century, failed school.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being told that your endeavours in life will fail, just remember: Teachers aren’t always right. Any teacher who makes such an unfair observation isn’t a real teacher, they’re just a civil servant working for a wage. At the end of the day, the only person who can decide on your success is yourself.