Good Teachers Make The World Go Round

Good Teachers Make The World Go Round

Good teachers turn subjects you like into subjects you love.

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Teachers are by far the most unappreciated people on the planet. They do so much for students and society and are paid very little. I believe that a good teacher can change the lives of many.

I've had my fair share of good and bad when it comes to teachers throughout my grade school days. While the bad ones did make me dislike certain subjects for the year, they are not the people I think of when I hear the word teacher. I think of the teachers and coaches I had who made a positive impact on my life. They are individuals who shaped me into the person I am today. It's crazy to think that without them, I wouldn't know half the things I know and would most likely not be where I am today.

Good teachers turn subjects you like into subjects you love. I have loved English class all my life. Reading and writing were my favorite lessons in elementary school and they were definitely my forte. When I got to middle school, I had an awful experience with an English teacher early on. After that, I thought I hated the subject. Luckily, when I moved on to 8th grade, I had one of the most intelligent and well-spoken teachers ever for English.

He taught me grammar like no one had taught me before. I was always good at coming up with ideas to write about, but my grammar was deplorable. After taking his class, I became what some people call a "grammar nazi." I learned all about rules, punctuation, and clauses.

My teacher made us write complex sentences from a workbook until we knew how to do it properly enough to write it on the board for the class. Sure, that was a lot of pressure for a 14-year-old, but I'm thankful for it. I now know how to write with proper grammar, a skill that helped me write papers in high school and excel in the writing portion of the SATs.

He also taught us a ton of high-level vocabulary words. Every day, he would put a word up on the board. We had to copy the word, the definition, and a sentence he provided that used the word. After this, we'd talk about the word as a class and he would tell us an anecdotal story about the word, which helped us remember it better. He would also use the words throughout the week.

While most teachers would say, "please clear your desks" he would say, "please remove all extraneous paraphernalia from your desktops." Extra, but highly effective.

After we reached 20 words, we'd have a test. Every time we reached 20 more, we had another test. The tests were cumulative and timed to be around 15 minutes long. By the end of the year, we had a test with 300 plus words we had to know by memory because we did not have a word bank. We simply had a blank sheet of paper. The words were in alphabetical order so that helped me recall them to write down. I learned a ton of high-level words that year, which also helped me with the SATs. I knew how to identify them and how to use them in the essay.

This teacher changed my life for the better. Without his lessons, I would not have been prepared for high school or college. No one else in my life had ever taught me grammar the way he did. I was surprised to find that most of my classmates did not know proper grammar rules because they were not taught it. I was one of the lucky ones that had someone teach it to me.

My friends call me a human dictionary and a human Grammarly because they always come to me when they need their essays proofread or need some words to spice up their papers.

I've always detested math. Math in every way shape or form has caused me trouble in life. I never fully grasped the concepts of basic algebra until my sophomore year of high school. I had a teacher who took his time explaining the lessons and did so in a way that allowed my mind to open up. Most math teachers would go up to the board and write a bunch of numbers and expect the class to follow. This teacher was different. He actually wrote out the lessons using words and numbers. I am an English person and following directions through words is easy for me. After reading his lessons, I would simply follow the directions and reach my answer.

I did exceptionally well in that class and I learned a lot of skills that I still use today. I am thankful for his patience and unique way of explaining a complicated subject to me and others.

I had two great English teachers in high school. One of them had us write our memoir which was by far my favorite assignment I've ever had in high school. It was such a cool thing to do and it made me reflect on so much. She was such a cool lady who engaged the class every day and always made sure we were learning. She was also the one who helped us with college applications and explained admission processes that not even our counselors were explaining to us. I would've been totally lost on my applications if it wasn't for her.

The following year, I had another great English teacher. This woman was the most lively person I've ever met. I had her first period, a time where most of us doze off. There was never a time where I dozed off in this class.

Watching her teach made me realize how important it is to do something in life that you are passionate about. She taught books to us like she was telling us a story about her own life. She knew the books inside and out and wanted us to know them like that as well. She loved The Great Gatsby so much that she ordered Gatsby themed flats and brought them to school to show us.

She was always finding ways for us to have fun. We were a class full of stressed out juniors getting ready for the SAT and college applications. She recognized this and wanted us to come to her class to work but to also to enjoy life.

On Halloween, she had us write spooky stories using vocabulary words, then she turned off the lights, gave us mini flashlights, and had us sit in small groups where we read our stories out loud to one another.

On Easter, she hid Easter eggs all around her classroom. They each contained a vocabulary word. We had to run in, grab one, and sit down to define it and use it in a sentence before our 5 minutes were up.

Before we left for the winter holidays, she had us sit down in a circle around her and had us each talk about our favorite holiday memory. We were able to learn a little more about our classmates and had a chill day before break.

During our last day in her class, after we had taken our final, we sat in a circle around her again. She pulled out the book, "The Giving Tree" and told us to listen to her reading, but to pretend we were 5 years old. The book is about a tree that gives and gives to a child until the child is grown and has taken everything the tree can give.

As she read, we all tried to pretend we were kids, but as the book progressed, I found that seemingly simple task to be harder and harder. By the end of the book, the class looked somber.

She told us, "See how hard it was trying to listen to this with the mind of a kid? You've all grown up and are hearing this book as an adult." This hit me hard because I realized that what she was saying was true, we had grown up. We heard the sad story of the tree and I understood that's how our parents felt about us. We could no longer be ignorant to the true message of the book. Her lesson truly marked my life. I'll never forget that day.

These were just some of the teachers who made me realize how important their profession was. I will always look back and be thankful to have been in their class. They continue to teach and hopefully are still changing student's lives the way they changed mine.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.

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Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.

Love,

Me

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