Will You be Someone’s Favorite Teacher?
I was recently asked to name my favorite teacher. Now, considering it’s been over twenty years since I’ve had a teacher, it took me a minute to think. But even after chewing on it for a bit, I realized not only did I not have a particularly favorite teacher, I barely had any memorable teachers at all. Thinking through my 17 years of schooling, I could only recall about six teachers by name even though I’ve had well over 50. I remembered them because they were creepy, crazy, or creative… not necessarily because they were favorites.
What makes a teacher a favorite? I think the answer is pretty simple: a favorite teacher is one who singles you out with positive, individual attention and gives you a few direct compliments that are specific to your gifting. I’ve asked several people this question. Most people actually do have a favorite teacher; and their reasons are mostly the same. This singled out educator held a coveted position because he/she gave individual attention and directed words of wisdom and encouragement specifically to the student.
Why are most teachers forgotten? I think that answer is equally simple: most teachers are forgotten because they teach classes, not individuals. The students are treated as one body, with very little, if any, individual attention. I reflected more about my 17 years of schooling and certainly confirmed this fact in my own experience.
Throughout our school years, we are but mere chalkboards (showing my age) on which teachers can mark with wisdom. Some marks are beautiful, cherished, and protected from defacing. Other marks are scribbled, softly written, and blow away with time. Yet, there are also marks that are deep, hurtful and scar through the years. Teachers hold this power. They can shape, mold and build, or they can simply have no lasting effect at all. The best teachers, the ones that are recognized and remembered, know this to be true.
Will you be remembered? And if so, how? Who was your favorite teacher? Why were they special to you? Think about this and make these next few days/weeks count for each of your students. Leave a beautiful mark. Tell each of them how special they are and that you believe in them. You may be the only person to ever tell them this.
Teach, lead, love.