I’ll bet that most everyone has had a teacher in their lives who made a positive impact on them. It isn’t always about the subject matter either; it’s about how the teacher makes the students feel—about themselves as well as the subject matter.
The teachers I remember most are the ones who inspired me to be the best I could be; the ones who opened my mind to more than just the subject matter. I had a history teacher whom I loved; he made American history not just interesting but exciting. He also knew that I loved to read aloud, and he often called on me to do so.
One day, sitting in class, I began to daydream (something that always showed up on my report cards). I lost track of where we were in the book. He called on me to read, and I abruptly came back to planet Earth and could not remember where we were. He gave me a look that spoke volumes about how disappointed he was, and then asked someone else to read. I never disgraced myself again in his class.
My English classes were my favorites. Not only did I learn but I realized that I was a fairly good writer. I loved writing compositions and stories, and usually got high marks for them. I learned to read wonderful and inspiring books and poetry; they enriched my imagination and made me want to read more and more.
Then there were the truly awful teachers that made you feel terrible. I was in second grade and I had a little girl crush on a boy in my class. I wrote him a love letter in my notebook and failed to see my teacher walking toward me. She ripped my note out of my hand, and read it out loud to the entire class—including the boy I had a crush on.
I was mortified and hurt. I knew I shouldn’t have been writing and should have been listening to my teacher. But I couldn’t get over a teacher shaming me like that. I walked home from school and went right into my bedroom and crawled underneath my bed. I put my flaming hot face on the cool floor and wondered if I would ever live this down. Of course I did, but I never trusted that teacher again.
The teachers who inspired me made a real difference in my life. I am grateful to them to this day. I don’t know how it is these days with teachers, but I respect them always for what they do. The wrong teacher can make a mark on their students that can follow them to adulthood. The right teacher can not only bring out the best in a student, but inspire them to be the best that they can be. These are the teachers who truly teach.