“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” –Henry Adams
Australia will celebrate World Teacher’s Day on the 25th of October. Whether or not you enjoyed school, most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact. I was fortunate enough to have many teachers whose influence remains a set of guide posts to my life even now. Now studying education myself, I find my high school teachers a constant point of reference for what makes a good educator. The three things I admire most in my teachers are their generosity, sense of humour and a desire to inspire.
As life gets busier, an appreciation for the value of time and energy grows. I am endlessly grateful to my teachers for their generosity with these two things. Whether teaching a class after hours which wouldn’t fit on the timetable, marking the same practice essay every week until it was polished, or coming in on weekends to supervise some extra hours of HSC project work, many teachers go above and beyond the call of duty.
A sense of humour can be a vital asset. Some teachers exercise their humour by telling jokes and entertaining in the classroom while for others it’s simply a case accepting the ridicule for using dated slang and have a little laugh at themselves. In any case, asking students to watch collegehumour.com clips as homework is a very sneaky way of softening the blow of long, dry history readings.
Oh captain, my captain! Without getting too cliché, my teachers were also really inspirational. The small, ordinary things they did to keep us all moving forward were, for some, the encouragement they needed to start rewarding adult lives. Lending us books we just might be interested in, mentioning that competition that’s running, the open spot on that team, letting us all know that what we want to do and what we’re good at, even the little things that might not amount to much in the end, are valued and important.
So thank you to the teachers! I encourage everyone to reflect on their teachers this World Teachers Day, and the role they played in shaping the people we have all become.
- Ashley Emmerton