When I was in Grade Four, I made a tiny red heart on the letter “i” instead of a dot when writing a certain word. My teacher called me in the teachers’ hall, asked me in an accusing tone what was all that about. My mind went blank. I didn’t have the slightest notion what she was getting at or why. I stood there silent and scared. The other teachers were glowering at me and I wanted to curl into a tiny ball. At another time, I gave Christmas cards to my classmates. Boys included. I was in Grade Six. My teacher found my card in one of the boys’ bag and she decided something was going on between us. One more time I was misunderstood. One more time I was mistreated! And it was frustrating! Such things happen when teachers walk into their class with a closed mind, and fail to establish a connection with their students!
The worst thing a teacher could do is not trust her students. Yes, students lie. They make mistakes. They can be real pests sometimes. But they are students! They are children and that’s what children do! How can teachers expect their students to be perfectly disciplined, follow all the rules blindly, not get exasperated and not question anything. I mean students are human beings. They are not robots. You can’t program them to act or think in a certain way. Besides, school is where we learn and enjoy, and make lifelong memories. It’s not some kind of a trap where we cage students’ minds.
Teachers are supposed to be role-models. They are not God! But for their students, they are God whether they are aware of it or not! And God doesn’t judge! Teachers should never judge their students and if they do they are closing all doors of improvement and correction. A teacher’s words are her greatest assets. The words she chooses to communicate with her students decide how they feel. If students feel threatened, disrespected or miserable in your presence, they wouldn’t ever respond to you no matter how hard you try! And forcing them to follow your lead will only backfire.
I am an adult. It’s been ages since I left my school years behind but I still remember how my teachers made me feel. Ms Mamta Roy, my English teacher in high school was totally amazing! She was warm and amiable. She appreciated me and brought out the best in me. I admired her a great deal. Her classes were simply the best!
But teachers can sometimes be brutal too! They can humiliate you even when it’s not your fault and expect you to be obedient without even once questioning them. It happened with me so many times. When I was in Grade Eight, one of my teachers was so condescending. She thought I was “uncool”. She made me feel invisible even though I did everything to impress her. I wanted her attention but every time I tried, she would brush me aside like I was toxic. I remember once in my attempt to impress her I had done of the English Grammar exercises in advance. When it was time to do it in the class, she saw my work was done. And she thought I had cheated! What kind of teacher was she who couldn’t even notice or regard my potential. In that moment, I went through a series of conflicting emotions and saw my teacher as a witch!
I have come across all sorts of teachers and it breaks my heart to see that children greatly suffer. When teachers take students’ bad behaviour personally and see them as a “pain” they only end up ruining them. Students who have impeccable records are appreciated to the point of being worshipped while those with average or weak records, and with troubled backgrounds are not only ignored, they are made to feel like they are nothing but an inconvenience! It’s only natural to like or support students who get good grades, who are well-behaved, or who work with responsibility and discipline. How about being kind and patient with those who are impolite, rough and rebellious. I think they are more deserving of love and attention!
I feel that men and women who choose teaching as their profession should thick twice. Because teachers have the power to make or break their students. And if you are a teacher who is incessantly at war with your students, and you taunt them, call them names or make them dirty targets in front of their classmates, then you should just resign from your job right away! If you think your students can’t succeed then they probably won’t. If you don’t believe in your students, you are deliberately shattering their confidence. If you don’t make your students feel loved, you are giving them a message that they are good-for-nothing, that they are a nobody! And no student deserves to be treated like a nobody! All of them want to feel cherished! It’s a human right to feel loved and wanted!
What we remember from childhood, we remember forever. And school life is a gigantic aspect of everybody’s childhood. Even when you enter adulthood, you never forget your school years. This is especially true for those “disturbed” students who get no love and attention from home. To make things worse their teachers see them as “constant nuisance” which is nothing but unfair with those troubled souls. How can a teacher think that her students are nasty and despicable? Teachers enlighten their students, and show them the right path and if they give up on their students then it makes them (teachers) losers! As a teacher if you despise your students, you are actually revealing something ugly about your own personality! Good teachers are kind, patient and understanding. They don’t mock their students. They don’t enforce respect. They teach respect and they teach it with love!
I don’t care if anybody disagrees with me but I say it with conviction that students who are unruly, difficult and disobedient are so because of their parents and teachers. Teachers and parents can bring them success. Teachers and parents are responsible for their downfall. And I believe teachers have a greater responsibility. Where parents fail, teachers can come to their students’ rescue and try to fill the gap.
Teachers should never forget their own young and vulnerable years when they were students themselves. Being a teacher does not mean they are perfect! Once upon a time, they were also stupid and everything obnoxious fascinated them. Being in the position of power today won’t change their past records! That’s why they shouldn’t expect their students to become holy and kind and disciplined in one day because that’s never going to happen. Everything that’s worth teaching them will take time.
Teachers are heroes! They have the power to make a difference in the lives of their students. They can help their students by simply hearing them when they are sad, or maybe just giving them a hug when they are low. They can do as little as giving them a smile or telling them how much they love them! I think this is why God made teachers. So, they could rescue the little humans from their distress and restore happiness in their cracked, broken souls!
Written By Shumila Malik