Throughout my high school career, I can say I’ve been blessed with some truly amazing teachers. I’m not just talking about the ones who nod at you and say hello to you in the hallways. I’m not just thinking about the ones who help you understand the content. I’m speaking of the ones who truly want every student in their room to succeed, not just in their particular subject, but in their lives. I’m talking about the life-changing sort of teachers who make you believe that you can achieve that big dream of yours and help you along the way.
While I’ve had some teachers such as those, I’ve also, unfortunately, had teachers on the other side of the spectrum. Ones that weren’t mean, necessarily, but ones who weren’t particularly concerned about the individual lives and futures of most students and were there to simply do the bare minimum their job required and go home. Trust me: I know educators have it extremely rough. The daily pressures of test scores, paperwork, trainings, and other aspects of the job would be enough for anyone to pull their hair out. However, teachers should be mindful of the impact they are leaving on each and every student. Being passive and uninvolved in your students lives does leave an impact, whether you see it or not.
For many students, school is actually an escape. At home, they may be ignored, neglected, or simply have parents who aren’t concerned with their personal lives or futures. If students can’t go home and receive that kind of support from their own parents, teachers should be doing their absolute best to be providing some type of concern beyond a mere content level. Too many teachers today simply fall into teaching as a backup or choose this career path nonchalantly, not realizing the vast importance and weight of their job.
You may be wondering what some characteristics of a teacher who goes above and beyond are. Some similarities I’ve noticed in all of the exceptional teachers I’ve had are as follows:
1. They understand MY personal goals and expectations of my self.
If I were to come to them with a concern over my grade, they wouldn’t simply say, “You’re doing fine, you’re passing.” They would instead understand I expect more of myself and work with me to get to the level I want to be at. They understand the individuality of each student and cater to those qualities without making you feel as if you’re a bother or an annoyance to them.
2. They remind you that they care.
This may seem simple, but it means so much. They let us know that we, as students, can confide in them and that they are always willing to listen to us whether it be problems at home or if you just need someone to talk to. This simple gesture goes a long way and is a characteristic I’ve noticed in many excellent teachers in my life.
3. It’s obvious they truly love their job.
Not to say they are always creepily cheery or that they don’t have off days, because “work” for anyone won’t be great every day. But most days, you can see they truly love being around students, love to see classroom engagement, and are happy to be doing what they’re doing. They aren’t just suffering through 7 hours a day five days a week just to get weekends off. These are teachers who understand their impact and strive to make it a good one.
“The Teacher Effect” as I like to call it, is a pretty big one. It can be the difference between a student honestly looking forward to that one hour class each day, versus a student who watches the seconds tick by, just waiting for the class to be over.
The mood of the classroom can oftentimes be determined by the teacher; this is a fact I’ve learned over the past three years in high school. So, if you’re wanting to become a teacher, or are in the process of becoming one, I ask that you please remember the immensity of your career. Not to scare you, or anything like that, just to prepare you to do great things one day and leave an impact on students like amazing teachers have left an impact on me. Be passionate and involved, and make your teacher effect a good one.