Archive for September, 2010

#14: Do Your Job

I’m actually just in a bit of a disgusted mood, really.

It’s my opinion that teachers and doctors are two of the most important groups in society. (Of course, there are many other important figures in society, but I think these two are particularly important.) Doctors are important because they are there to heal and because they take people’s lives in their hands. Teachers are just as important because they play such a huge role in life at such an early stage and throughout.

So I am just utterly disgusted at some of the teachers that I have seen.

As a teacher, you don’t just teach kids how to divide fractions or how to write in iambic pentameter. Teachers serve as authority figures who, maybe more than anyone other than parents, provide examples and role models for what a child (or even an adult!) should aspire to be. The encouragement of a teacher can change the course of a life dramatically – for the better or for worse. A teacher can help a person learn more about themselves and the world around them not just in terms of facts but in terms of actions and feelings.

I’m just shocked that some teachers don’t realize how much responsibility they have. I’m shocked that some teachers don’t realize that the whole point of a school is to nurture the students not the teachers, not the administrators, not the reputation of a school. Schools are instituted to provide education for their students and so their focus should be on providing the best education they can for their students.

Teachers hold so much power over the courses of well, everybody’s lives, and it’s appalling that just as one person, I’ve already seen so much abuse of that power.

I don’t want to get specific because this is, after all, the internet, but I’ve seen racism, personal vendettas, ignorance, and just plain old meanness. And I just cannot comprehend how these people became teachers. How in the world did they step into this profession of all professions with such disrespect for the lives of others?

I understand that teaching is not an easy job. It’s not like it pays millions and there’s a lot of work and energy that goes into it if you want to do it properly. I only have experience tutoring for a few hours at a time and even that is completely exhausting. I understand that teachers are human beings, too. I don’t expect teachers to be flawless and never sin. What I expect is for them to put their prejudices aside and be especially careful in their actions so that they can be good role models and heck, decent human beings.

That’s not to say that I’ve seen all bad teachers. I’ve been very lucky to have had some amazing teachers over the years. When I was going through a rough time in sixth grade, I owe my survival of that time to my Gifted & Talented teacher. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through that year. I’ve had teachers who welcomed me to new schools and got me going on a path that helped me to succeed. I’ve had teachers who’ve encouraged my passions and dreams and supported me to get to where I am today – I mean, getting into Harvard was obviously helped by a few great teachers, but more than just academic accomplishments, I have been shaped by fantastic teachers to become (I hope) a good person.

So to those inspiring incredible teachers, thank you.

For the rest of you, do your job.

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