We Can Be Taught

I think it’s important to have a good relationship with your teachers. If you don’t like a teacher you have, you’re not going to want to pay attention to them; it’s common sense. When you enjoy their personality or even just their approach on teaching, you find that you do better in class, because you actually listen.

When I was in school, I always liked my teachers; I can’t think of a year when I seriously couldn’t stand one. Like I said in yesterday’s post, I was the kind of kid that made friends out of my teachers. I don’t know why I did this, but I found that I liked to know my teachers personally. I liked to know them as three-dimensional people, instead of the loud, kooky educators they became in front of class.

As you grow older, you find that the personalities of your teachers change. In elementary school, I only had female teachers, and they all had this cool, calm, and collected way about them. They were super patient with us, but they had to be—they were working with children, after all.

Imagine this: I was part of a book club, and I was a Math Olympiad. If you assumed I didn’t cause much trouble as a kid in school, you’d be right.

I was also part of a dual language program, so my days in elementary school were different than most kids. I’d start my day in my normal class, and we’d do the things you did in school, but for the second half of the day, I’d be in a different room, learning Spanish.

In order for me to learn anything, I have to physically do it on my own. The whole “just listening” thing didn’t really work out for me, so I was the kind of kid that worked as the teacher spoke. I never got in trouble for it, but I did have to explain myself to several teachers—they thought I was just doodling.

Which is kind of funny, since I did that, too.

Middle school was when I really started to make friendships with my teachers. I liked those teachers so much, I even went back to West Middle throughout and after high school to update them about my life, and see how theirs were going. I was usually able to find my sixth grade science and math teachers, Mr. Mehler and Ms. Holden, as well as my seventh and eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Beyer, and my eighth grade social studies teacher, Mr. C. Those guys were my favorites back then. Mr. C was the first teacher of mine to ever get me interested in history class. He was also the first person outside of my family to ever give me a nickname, which automatically made him my Favorite Person Ever (you know, besides Oma). It was Danger, and I loved that nickname a lot.

In high school, I had a bunch of teachers who I considered my favorite at different points. Ms. Coleman was my favorite, hands down, in ninth grade. My science teacher from that year, Ms. Corso, was a close second—but only really because the other kids in her class were subpar to my liking. I actually yelled in her class once, because of this one kid, who wouldn’t stop harassing me. That guy was the worst, but Ms. Corso was the bomb. Other teachers I really liked in high school:

Sophomore Year

  • Ms. Shea, biology
  • Ms. Ambrosio, English
  • Mr. Bennett, history
  • Mr. Tims, music theory

Junior Year

  • Ms. Costa, chemistry
  • Ms. Dan, English
  • Ms. Melendez, trigonometry

Senior Year

  • Mr. Chamberlin, English
  • Ms. Longo, physics
  • Ms. Macaluso, accounting
  • Mr. Salanitri, government

…see what I mean by I liked a lot of my teachers? I was not kidding.

One of the things I liked most about my teachers throughout my education were how flexible they made themselves, so they could help us students out, whenever they could. I feel like that is a super important quality in a teacher, because it shows that they truly care in how well their kids do. They want to see us succeed.

I also just really loved how supportive they were. Because they wanted the best out of us, they would simplify their lessons, to make sure everyone understood the topics. I liked that they didn’t just move on to the next thing so quickly that no one could catch a breath, and that they pushed us to ask questions we had.

I specifically always liked teachers that shared their personal life and showed their personalities more than the ones that were all about business, but I don’t think that is what makes a teacher great.

The teachers that are the greatest are the ones who really take the time to make sure every student understands what’s going on. The best teachers have patience, charisma, and great stories to tell. They figure out how to get their students engaged, even if it’s by telling a horrible joke. I think that there are a lot of things that can make a teacher great, but if there’s two things that they all have in common, it’s that they have a passion for their work, and that they believe in their students.


Prompt: What makes a teacher great?

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