Teachers: Stand-In Parents, Life Coaches and More | The Full Frontal

Teachers: Stand-In Parents, Life Coaches and More

Like many kids, my first ambition was to be a teacher. It’s like a go-to answer whenever anyone asks. Mainly because everyone else wanted to be teachers as well. And that it looked kind of cool to be on the other side of the fence for once, being the one that everyone else listened to.

But as I grew up, my ambition kept on changing. I wanted to be a marine biologist, an astronaut and on one short occasion, Barbie, because she dominated any and all jobs available and I just didn’t want to choose anymore. 

I was told by my English teacher that I had huge ambition. I could go anywhere and everywhere I wanted and succeed because I had the drive to do so. Now, I carry that with me when I’m faced with new situations that aren’t so easy for me to digest.

So in honour of World Teacher’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate teachers and their dedication to make the education system a better place for children all over the world.

Stand-In Parents

a teacher reassuring a student
A teacher is someone who’s always willing to help you in any way they can. Source from Story Weaver

When I was in a tough spot, I would always go to my teachers first. They seemed to know what to do. I would also like to consider myself very lucky to have been blessed with such educators that took care of me the way mine did. I understand that some may not be as lucky. 

I feel like a teacher is somewhat like a parent. They take care of you for eight hours a day and they’re there for you for half of your life. Sometimes, they’re even the ones we go back to, to ask for advice when our parents aren’t available. 

I still contact my teachers every now and again. Once I’ve found my centre and decided to pursue a rather different path than teaching, instead of giving up on me and telling me that I should stick to what I know, they encouraged me to explore my other abilities. “The world is your oyster,” they would say. “Take as many pathways as you can.

Teacher Roles

Teacher teaching students
Teachers teach you life lessons on top of everything else. Source from Reaf Guardian

This isn’t meant to glorify or romanticise teachers in any way. It’s just an example of what a teacher is supposed to be and what they should represent. Teachers are meant to be someone you can go to for help, the one adult person who looks at things objectively and would help you through your worries without judging you.

They’re your mentors, your life coaches. They’ve watched you grow. Watch you go through your thick and thins and offer you help in whatever way they can.

They shouldn’t be people who look down on you simply because you are slow to catch up on to certain things. They shouldn’t be talking about your insecurities behind your back and make you embarrassed to ask questions during lessons. 

Extraordinary Teachers of Mine

heroic teacher
Teachers are heroes too. Source from NEA

I would like to take the time here to shine a light on good examples of teachers. Teachers that have personally played a part in shaping me to be the wonderfully talented woman that I am today. Without them, who knows where I might have ended up.

1. My Fourth Grade Science Teacher

When I first told my science teacher I wanted to be like her, she claimed it was an ambitious dream. Commended me and said that she was proud that I wanted to put myself on a path that was both difficult and rewarding. I didn’t understand what she meant at first because I was only 10 years old, and all I knew was that being a teacher was pretty cool because teachers seem to know everything.

Fast forward to 14 years later, fresh out of college with a Diploma in TESL, I reached out to her again and told her how my first week as a teacher went. She listened as I cried and complained about how hard it was actually doing the teaching rather than just learning theories about classroom management. 

She then proceeded to laugh at me and said “I told you so.” but afterwards gave me tips on how I could improve myself.

She never claimed to be a good teacher, but in my eyes, she always was.

2. My High School English Teacher
a teacher talking to his student
Teachers are people you can talk to. Source from WikiHow

I didn’t exactly have the best relationship with the teachers in high school. I was told that my teenage years were the most rebellious. I never really listened to anyone because I thought that no one understood me. The things I used to like when I was younger didn’t interest me anymore and everything made me angry.

The only solace I ever found was in the reading corner of my classroom, where I sat alone with my thoughts. My English teacher would often make an effort to talk to me by telling me about her day. I didn’t really care for it so I was silent most of the time.

She never pushed me to speak, instead opted to pause in some sentences just in case I wanted to chime in. It went on for months before I decided to entertain her and reply with stories of my own. She would offer me advice in the guise of a story she made up and I wouldn’t realise until the very end.

She’s the very reason I became interested in writing. The stories she would tell me were always filled with such wonder and excitement that I await a chance when I can experience that on my own just so that I could tell her all about it.

3. My College Lecturer

In the third semester of my Psychology Degree, I was introduced to the strictest lecturer known to the campus. I heard horror stories about her even before I signed up for my major. I do admit that I procrastinated taking on her subject for as long as possible until I couldn’t anymore. 

When it was time, I made all the necessary arrangements to be as quiet as I can and pass the class without her even noticing I was there. Alas to me, she already had seating arrangements prepared for us and I was lucky enough to be in the second row so there wasn’t any way I could be ignored.

While it was true that she was strict, the rumours left out a tiny detail of how and where the strictness actually came to play. Outside of the classroom, she was very welcoming and understanding — a perfect example of how the line between being a teacher and a friendly persona actually works. She’s strict when she needs to be, and considerate and empathetic when dealing with students with problems.

She was the first person I went to when I was diagnosed with social anxiety and had a breakdown in her office for an hour. I was encouraged to get help and she assisted in finding the therapist best suited for me. In hindsight, she didn’t have to do any of that, but she did it anyway. 

I am forever grateful for her help because without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Once A Teacher, Always a Teacher

teacher in front of a blackboard
The teaching life never ends. Source from freepik

Writing may be my full-time job now, but I’m still a teacher. At heart and on the weekends. The beauty of teaching is that we constantly learn something new every lesson — either from the texts we read or from the students themselves. Everything is a learning experience. 

So let today be the day that you call up your teachers and talk to them about anything and everything. Don’t be shy, they still remember you. They always do. 

Your teachers have been through a lot in this pandemic, especially with online classes. If you’re interested to read up on how online learning actually works and the struggles that come along with it, feel free to check out:

The Reality of Learning Online During Another MCO

a student in an online class
Online classes can be effective to those who have the facilities for them. | Source