Every now and then I come across quotations which attract my attention. Sometimes they make me smile, sometimes they inspire me, sometimes they challenge me, and sometimes they just make me feel warm and fuzzy. I thought I would post some of these quotations from time to time, and share my reflections.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a teacher who really influenced my life. Since then I have had many conversations about the influence teachers have had in friends’ lives.
Some influences are positive. Some are not. Some teachers inspired their students to love science or to pursue certain goals. Other teachers seem to have had a rather negative influence – leaving their students with an aversion to numbers or a hatred of poetry.
So much of our school experience – and our experience of learning in general – is down to the teacher in whose hands we are placed. That’s a huge responsibility. We really are shaping the future. (I cringe even writing that because of an English teacher of mine who forbid the use of clichés in our writing. See? The influences run deep.)
However, one of the toughest aspects of this profession is that we may never know the influence we have had in the lives of our students. I hope to have a positive influence in their lives, but the reality is that we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes and sometimes, with young people, those mistakes do effect them negatively (I recoil at the memory of a time I forbid a particularly inquisitive student from asking any more questions because I needed to get on with the lesson. To think that I may have quelled his passion or curiosity – even if only in just a small way – saddens me.)
However, we are only human. We do make mistakes. Hopefully we learn from them. (I am certainly more sensitive to the those inquisitive students now.)
I know that I may not be a perfect teacher and may not get it right all of the time, but I do hope that I do more good than harm! I hope that one day, far into the future, I hear from some of my students and hear that I did all right.