Students spend approximately 7 hours a day for 189 days a year in school.
That is more time than most students are at home. During these 7 hours, we are surrounded by peers and mentored by teachers and coaches who have the potential to make an impact on our life. Now, in my 12th year of public schooling I have had about 50 different instructors and two of them have had a tremendous impact on my life.
Mrs. Waite, an 8th grade English teacher at Faubion Middle School, was the first person that taught me that teachers could really make a difference. At the middle school level you spend 2 hours in both English and mathematics, so you are with those instructors twice as long everyone else. I have always been interested in writing and literature, and having her as a teacher I learned the proper foundation techniques for reading and writing. She was kind-hearted, easy to talk to, and always available for questions. She always put her students first and constantly looked for a way to motivate and encourage us to write. One of the ways she did this was by having us write a weekly paper reflecting on an inspirational quote. The quote I remember most vividly was, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” This quote is by Aristotle, and after putting much thought into my assignment I received an A on the paper and Mrs. Waite pulled me aside and congratulated me on my work. Mrs. Waite was one of the best English instructors that I have ever had, and that particular Aristotle quote has been a motto that I live by everyday.
Math has never been my area of expertise, and I struggled to make an A in any math course because I always encountered difficulty in working with my teachers. This was a major issue for me until the 9th grade, when I had Mrs. Ross for Algebra 1. Although class sizes range from about 20-30 students, Mrs. Ross was always able to help each student individually to help them succeed in her class. One of the things that made her such a great teacher was that she wasn’t just interested in helping you with schoolwork; she cared about you as a person and wanted to know what else you did outside of school. She would occasionally ask me questions about cheerleading and it made me feel like I could learn from her because I knew that she really cared about me as an individual.
Aside from seeing teachers at school, I always have one at home …. my mom.
She is an elementary school teacher. Although her strengths are in the math and science department, she loves working with her kids and helping them grow. Teaching is not as easy as it seems, lesson plans have to be made for every day and you have to find creative ways to keep the students interested. Sometimes, my mom and I will come up with fun experiments to help the kids learn about physical changes, growth, or counting. There are many students that are very dear to her and she will go out of her way to help the child be more successful and feel comfortable with the material.
Teachers put much more effort into their jobs than most people give them credit for, and they really are always looking out for the benefit of their students. Teachers play a similar role to parents in a way, because they get to know you and make you feel more comfortable, go out of their way to help you succeed, and try and give you the best advice they can. Teachers deserve much more appreciation for their hard work and dedication because without them, much of our academic success and self-confidence would deteriorate.
As a student I always feel more comfortable when a teacher takes the time to get to know me as a person before the material is taught, not just by filling out a “get to know you card” with basic questions on it, but by taking just a minute or 2 to ask you about your strengths and your involvement. This helps establish a basic and friendly relationship between the instructor and the student and makes it easier for us to ask questions and boosts our self-confidence because we enjoy working in a positive environment.