Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
Three teachers have always stuck out in my head as making big impacts on who I am today: my first grade teacher, my ninth grade English teacher, and my CHEM professor from college.
My first grade teacher was an older Filipina lady who was the aunt of a classmate I had in middle school. I remember telling her of how much of a bitch her aunt was, and I remember the look of confusion on her face. But I can’t seem to forget the shit that woman put me through… During this time, I felt consistently humiliated by this fucking bitch. From being spanked, made fun of for my dress in front of class, having my hand slapped, yelled at, and yanked up by my arm for doing what I was told. Her actions have had a lasting effect on me that at least helped me be a little bit more compassionate to my students. I know what its like to feel humiliated and treated badly by an adult that you feel should be on your side, and I would hate for another student to feel that way because of me. I may have failed at times, but I do try to prevent such occurrences from happening.
Funny thing is, middle school was hardly as bad for me as elementary school was. Elementary school was a nightmare because of my teachers and my classmates making my life hell. I often went home crying or wishing I were dead. I did go through bouts of trouble during my freshman year, but one teacher has always stood out to me despite the pains I felt then. She was always very warm and compassionate to everyone, and it often drove people crazy because she was rather kind to me.
Her kindness and support had gone a long way, and I never forgotten her warm smile or her truly compassionate nature. Her lessons on writing and her encouragement also stuck with me, and I often think of them when I find myself with a pen and paper in hand or when I pass by my old middle school. I remember wanting to be a teacher just like her, because what she had done for me was so remarkable even though it wasn’t anything spectacular. But as a student who had low self esteem, struggled with finding a place in a different education system, and who was always ignored by almost everyone? Her small praises and words of encouragement were very uplifting and has still made a huge impact on me to this day.
Finally, my Chemistry professor from last year. I took Chemistry briefly in high school but dropped out because of poor study habits and low self esteem. I honestly thought i was stupid and incapable, but I found that I actually REALLY like Chemistry! What struck me most about this professor, however, was how humble and generous she is to everyone. She has a lot of dry and geeky humor, but she’s very humble and truly invested in seeing her students succeed. She has a lot of compassion and a belief in God that struck me as surprising, since I had pegged her as someone who doesn’t believe in such things. Yet she draws strength from her faith and uses it as a basis of how she treats her peers, students, and family. Not to mention she does COOL experiments for her children that she sometimes does for us! Hah! Makes me wish my mom were that cool when I was a child!