“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’m in a stage in my life where I am both student and teacher. I have been teaching my own children and I entered into a Masters of Education program last year. It’s a little awkward but rewarding in learning how if feels to be on both sides of the classroom.
As students learning in a classroom, often our teachers leave us with lasting memories. Teachers have a great influence on a student's experience in the classroom and how well students perform. Although students have their natural strengths and weaknesses, teachers can bring out the best in a student or discourage them.
I have had some great teachers, however, I have had a few that were discouraging with long term memories that changed my self-esteem. I have always struggled with math. For some reason, I felt inadequate when it comes to solving math equations. In high school, I chose my academic courses to satisfy an advanced high school diploma. I was up for the challenge to pass Algebra II. My math teacher, his name fails my memory, and I don't care to put the effort in to remember it because he had a very difficult personality. Having a low self-esteem, I only asked questions if I absolutely had to. When I did, he would respond sarcastically. He did not appreciate repeating and explaining steps. I recall coming to his desk and asking him why we had to do a certain step in a math equation and his response was, “Well, do you want to fight about it?” I said, “No, I just don’t understand.” and went back to my desk frustrated. He would often tell stories in which he insulted his wife. It wasn’t clear if he knew while he told those stories, he insulted the females in his class. These stories would come as spontaneous entanglements within his lessons. I struggled to listen to him and solve these complicated math solutions. His wife was a beautiful woman by the looks of her photo on his desk. I remember wondering what she saw in him because he didn’t have the appearance of someone who had good hygiene.
With the first semester behind me, I was on my way to achieving my advanced high school diploma. I had one more semester, however, this Algebra II course was a required one that I did not want to endure. I could not change teachers. At the age of 17, I felt that I just couldn’t do it. I felt as though I was going to fail. The teacher seemed to be no help and my confidence was gone. I decided to give up the goal of graduating with an Advanced High School diploma and I settled for a General High School Diploma. Thankfully after being accepted into college, no one cared about the type of diploma I got in high school. The only thing that mattered was that I had a diploma. Although I have memories, this Algebra II teacher didn’t have lasting negative effects on my college acceptance, however, this is the first time I might have stepped foot on the path of settling for less. That’s another topic.
Teachers have such a strong influence on a child’s life. I do hope many realize how heavy their words can sit on their student’s minds and hearts. Those words settle into our minds and sometimes becomes the very foundation from which we draw our values from. I’m a teacher. I have been for years but now that I am in this Masters in Education degree program, I see how teachers have a deep influence in student's lives. The culture of the classroom matters in such a great way. We can foster acceptance, unity, harmony and all things that create a great school experience for students or we can ignore all of that and have a very dry cold classroom. It’s all in a decision to be aware of the valuable roles we have in students lives. Mr. Algebra II teacher did teach me unforgettable lessons, be nice to your students. Encourage them. Answer their questions even if they seem stupid to you. Don’t insult your spouse in the classroom, no body needs to hear that.