How do I thank my teachers for seeing the potential in me when I was little kid? For always choosing me to represent our class during school plays and events, for giving me good grades, for praising me for a correct answer, for encouraging me to answer or argue with them even when I’m hesitant, and for picking me out of the crowd?
How do I thank you for telling me I have the wrong answer, if I’m not performing well, for giving me low grades for failing to comply with your requirements and projects, for reprimanding me when I’m not on my best behavior, or for giving me those creative punishments?
I used to criticize, challenge, and mock my teachers when I was a young student. I hate them for giving us a lot of assignments, book reviews, long and difficult quizzes and exams, recitations, and asking me to stand up to solve a Math problem on the board in front of my crush.
But when I grew up and experienced giving lectures or talks myself, I realized how hard it is to stand in front of people, especially students, whose minds I know, were somewhere, giving me that critical looks or blank expressions; and experienced spending a lot of days researching and preparing my lessons just to give them something worthy of their time.
I realized that in order to be teacher, one must first muster all the confidence to face her students who are like me before – very critical, in order to give them a good lesson.
A teacher needs to accept that every student is born differently – some are receptive, critical, lazy (to the highest level), cool, generous, hardworking, naughty and nice, irritating, funny, serious, prim, proper, and behave, but some really needs a great deal of attention.
That is why I salute all my teachers because I think this is just the hardest task of all time.
Being a teacher is one of the noblest professions I know. But being one is not all about the lessons, assignments, projects, or recitations you give to your students. It’s not even the highest degree or position you have as a teacher, it is how you were able to touch the hearts of your students and the lasting effect you had on them. So I’m thanking my teachers for that.
To that teacher who gave me a long list of books to read. Although I haven’t read them all up to now, thank you because I’ve learned a lot from reading them. I was able to meet different characters, heroes, heroines, great authors, visited different places and countries, and learned different cultures.
It taught me the value of seizing the moment, because before I have all the time in the world to read which I didn’t do, so now I’m struggling to squeeze reading in my time and the list just keeps on getting longer.
To that teacher who made boring Math, Chemistry, History, and Algebra a little interesting, although I’m still not a fan of those subjects, thank you for giving me those passing marks or even surprisingly high grades.
Thank you for letting me solve Math problems on the board even it was really embarrassing because it taught me the value of standing up for myself that I need to be on the spot once in the while to boost my self-confidence and to be noticed.
To that teacher who made us cook, dance, sew, plant, clean, sing, and play in class, thank you even though I’m still not good at cooking up to now, a little knowledge of these skills became very helpful and useful to me.
To that teacher who reprimanded those boys who always tease us, girls and those bully classmates we had, thank you because you always protect us. It always feels good when you have a teacher on your side sometimes.
To that teacher who saw the potential and talent in me, who believed in me, and trusted in me, and scolded me sometimes, thank you because I keep on forgetting that little girl with great potentials and talents whenever life makes me down, low morale, and disappointed.
To that teacher who always tells us that life is different outside the four walls of our classroom, which is true, thank you for giving us that early warning.
To that teacher who always had those big smiles, comforting words, and warmest cheers, thank you because our classroom became our second home.
To all my teachers, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You may not appear as young as you are back in our student days, but for me, you will always be that young and vibrant teacher I once had. You will never grow old in my eyes and in my heart. I will never forget you!
*First published on October 12, 2012