Let’s be real

Those who can’t do, teach.

And those who can’t teach, teach gym.

-Woody Allen

I have a new teacher for the time being, and she is one of those people who’ll say everything like it’s the most profound thing ever. It usually isn’t. But today she said something that stuck with me. It was along the lines of “Teaching nowadays has become a more intimate thing, it’s more of a friendship between teacher and student, it’s more personal. It’s better than when I was growing up.”

I really agreed with her, and I really want to talk more about this because I think everything to do with teaching is rather important. We spend our entire lives learning, formally and informally, and whether it’s from a person or the vast amount of information on the internet, the way in which we learn them is key to success, key to retaining and understanding the knowledge presented.

I’ve had all kinds of teachers in my life. I’ve had those amazing, motherly figures, those harsh dictator individuals, and many who fall somewhere in between. I prefer lectures and having things verbally explained, but I don’t mind finding some things out on my own. The education system is filled with all ends of the teaching spectrum, it’s a unique and sometimes just a luck-run place. However, I think having some sort of relationship with a teacher is important. You don’t have to be best buds, but I think it’s good to have some kind of connection with the person who is giving you the knowledge that’ll determine if you’re ready for college, careers, or further opportunities.

These are best with teachers who are already good at their job. I don’t mean they have the highest test scores in the school, or make the most amount of money. I mean: they’re good at their job. I’ve found that the best teachers are the ones who aren’t fake or pretending they’re something that they aren’t. They know they’re just a regular person with the knowledge and degree that says they can give other people information. They’re the ones who actually listen to students and can have a good time yet remain authoritative and control the class so everyone can do well. I’ve been lucky to either have mostly pretty good teachers, and the ones who were awful were at least considered awful by most other people as well.

Last year I had an awful teacher who wouldn’t listen to students, who would constantly yell at our class and talk about how awful our class was to other classes. He’d take me into this little office, in ear shot of everyone in the classroom, and loudly tell me what my failing grade was. He yelled at a friend of mine because he was asked a question. He’d constantly refer to anytime not in the school day as “his time”, a time that couldn’t ever be dedicated to his job, and if it was, we were supposed to be super grateful as if he didn’t get entire summers off or have decent benefits from doing the bare minimum. It was awful.

And we’re all going to have that awful teacher in high school, or college, and it’s going to suck. But I think it makes me appreciate the good ones even more. I’ve a unique mix of teachers this year, and though currently I’m stuck with just one teacher due to circumstance, I’m actually glad to be exposed to so many different teacher tropes. Because for good or bad, it makes me think about how I would or wouldn’t handle that situation. I’m not going to become a teacher, but a lot of the qualities these people have are qualities that are prevalent in most situations. Whether or not someone chooses to be kind and understanding isn’t something only a teacher has to decide. After witnessing many bad teachers, people that are supposed to be “role models”, I know what qualities I don’t want to have as I’m immersed in jobs and eventually careers.

Having a relationship with other people, students or not, is one of those key aspects to life and succeeding. Not friendships, or even acquaintanceships, but just generally listening and understanding other people’s views, concerns, and figuring out how to convey information in the best way possible are all things that I think will be important in life.

My teacher today was right; teaching is much different than when she was in school. I think most relationships are different. I think people can be more real with each other nowadays, and that’s something I really appreciate and admire. We spend our entire lives learning, not just from teachers, but those around us. If we can’t be real, be understanding and personal, then what really are we gaining? Professionalism is best mixed with reality, and I’m glad that today my teacher reminded me of that. She may not always say the most philosophical things, but at least she can say things. At least she can. 

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