As we celebrate World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers’ Day, what good memories do you have of your teachers? Which of them impacted your life in such a way that still makes you proud?
Can we sincerely celebrate all our teachers today, even when we carry sore memories in our hearts of some really difficult teachers, not just disciplinarians who taught us?
Going down memory lane, we often find ourselves having nostalgic experiences of what our teachers taught us at school, about the world, its people, and the uncertainty of a fairy tale future!
Remembering all your teachers would surely be an uphill task, but how about the few who stood out and made a lasting impression? So what good memories do you have of that great and outstanding teacher?
Students frequently remember teachers who were compassionate, humorous, intelligent, or passionate. They remember caring teachers from their past. They remember teachers who were encouraging, supportive, or who noticed something in them that no one else did. They remember teachers who pushed them intellectually and provided challenges. In all honesty, pupils also recall teachers who were perhaps a touch eccentric. After all, great teachers don’t need to be faultless.
Here are a few good memories of teachers whose influence on me has touched my life forever.
Ms. P was my English teacher in primary school, and she directed the school plays. I never imagined participating in a stage play; I never saw myself as being articulate enough for a role, but one blessed day, Ms. P accosted me after school and said, “I hope to see you at play rehearsals tomorrow.” Before this encounter, such a thought never once crossed my mind, but her question to me made me have a rethink. So I summoned up my courage and not only participated but was outstanding in my role. Thanks to Ms. P, as that moment gave birth to my being courageous in the face of self-doubt and fear.
A Passion for Agriculture
Mr. I was passionate about agriculture and knew how to tell a story. To him, agriculture wasn’t a list of farm tools, the weather, or farmers. Agriculture was a story of people—what they ate, how they provided food for themselves and others, and the community created through agriculture. All living beings were connected to the story of agriculture, and we couldn’t wait to attend his classes.
Taking us to the farm for practical was the best part because it gave us the opportunity to interact with different farm animals and crops. By the end of the school session, some of us actually planted seeds during our holidays as well as reared animals.
In retrospect, I’d have to say that Mr. I was probably more interested in his subject than he was in his students, but he made agriculture come alive for us. Thanks to social media and the internet, we are still in touch with each other.
The Dignity of Labour
I don’t remember many who taught me, but I do remember Mr. E’s famous “dignity in labour” philosophy. He often drew on the sand with his long cane to teach us about life and its vicissitudes. He was wildly enthusiastic about these lessons, given that he tutored us on the subject of social studies. A great storyteller who also doubled as the cafeteria master, with so many fun times, especially when food was not rightly apportioned. He always taught us to be diligent in whatever we were called upon to do.
Twenty years later, I find myself as a consultant adopting his message to achieve set goals in spite of the dynamism of life.
Every student treasures his or her dignity.
Samson joined us in our second grade. He was not only brash but also disruptive, and after a while, it was clear to us students that most teachers didn’t like him.
Mrs. B was a new teacher. In our other classes, Samson was yelled at or sent out of the class when he started misbehaving. So when the first time Samson insisted he wasn’t going to take the math assessment Mrs. B was supervising, everyone shuddered. We all anxiously waited with baited breath to see what was going to happen. But Mrs. B went over to Samson, stooped down by his desk, and muttered some words so softly that only he could hear what she said. Whatever it was, Samson put his head down and stopped talking. He didn’t take the test, but he was quiet.
Mrs. B repeated the same thing the next time Samson erupted. She didn’t exhibit any signs of being frustrated. Eventually, the outbursts stopped. I never understood then what was happening, but I remembered Mrs. B when I had to relate with students and was faced with challenging situations with them. I now understand that her actions were about saving a student’s dignity. This worked for Mrs. B, and it worked for me.
When I asked students lately, it was crystal clear that good memories of our teachers are treasured moments for many and truly touch our lives forever. “I love my math teacher,” a sixth-grader told me recently. She’s funny and she knows many of us are scared of math, but she’s really patient with us and uses real-life stories to teach us. She makes us want to do math and see math in our everyday life.
The good memories that I have of my teachers and continue to believe molded me include kindness, attention, passion for the subject they taught and simple care for the students. These are what make a teacher stand out. And it’s also cool if you have a little eccentricity.
As the world celebrates World Teachers’ Day, I say a big “Thank you” to all my teachers, and by the way, I’m still a student!