They say: “The influence of a good teacher can never be erased”. Who ‘they’ are remains a mystery, but maybe ‘they’ had a fairly good idea what being a good teacher was all about?
I was lucky enough in my lifetime to experience a teacher like that in grade 7. Mr Du Plessis (my English teacher at the time) was fresh out of teacher’s college when I walked into his classroom. He emphasised that to pass in his class, you had to work hard. It was also his mission to prepare us for a side of life that we were unfamiliar with.
His first lesson was not about the English language, it was about attitude. He told us that your attitude would determine your altitude. You choose your attitude towards school, whether positive or negative. He continued by saying that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. No matter your circumstances in life, you can succeed. When people say you cannot do it, show them that it can be done. When people call you nasty names, stand up for yourself. These words inspired our 13-year-old selves.
These words especially changed the lives of one of my classmates. One day, when the school bullies called him names, instead of hiding away or ignoring them, he stood firm and called them out. He said: “You only call me names because you are insecure about yourself and are trying to make yourself feel better by making me feel bad. Stop calling me names!” They left him alone after day. I know it doesn’t always work that way, but standing firm is a better solution than arguing and fighting.
In each of our minds, a good teacher is unique, a person who had an impact in shaping a part of our destiny. The thought of them brings a smile to our faces and their lessons motivate us on our life journey each day.
Have a positive attitude!
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For movies on inspiring teachers, watch these awesome finds, Dead Poets Society, Mr. Holland's Opus, To Sir With Love, Dangerous Minds, etc.