I had just started at a new school in my 9th grade. Everything was new for me at this school; the country, the environment, the curriculum, the style…it was nothing like the one I came from. I fell in love with it and somehow even at the age of 14, I knew somehow, this was a vital point in my life – a shift from what was to what could be.
Yet I didn’t expect Mr. A. He was our history teacher. Yet he hadn’t arrived. This was really out of the box for me. I had never had a teacher come tardy to school. He was 2 weeks late. We were curious to meet this teacher. He was also new at school.
He didn’t disappoint. He entered the school like a fresh breeze blowing. He was funny, easy, relaxed and very open about all aspects of his life. A bit too open if you ask me now that I am a parent.:)
Yet as 9th graders we all fell in love. Here was someone who openly spoke of challenging rules, he questioned authority, made us question everything we believed in. He taught us history like it was poetry. He turned it into the most fascinating movie we would ever experience. He talked with such depth and love for his subject. He knew it so well that no class was ever structured – we had an idea of the texts we were following but no structure of how they would be presented.
He always surprised us and took us on a journey into the past to show us what we could reflect on and absorb into our present.
The first thing he said to us in his first class, was that he wasn’t going to teach us anything other than the skills to access what we would need to know when we would need to know it.
He went beyond teaching us to educating us.
He taught us to be brave, to be dynamic and different, to ask questions, to love the process of learning, to understand what it is like to be sparked by inspiration, to enter the world of books and movies and to learn from everything we see — to look at that which is not obvious – to reflect — to chase depths — to have fun, to be bold and that it was ok to be ourselves whatever that was.
He was unconventional in his methods but pure in his teachings.
He inspired me so much that in the 10th grade, I blindly took whatever subject he taught; it happened to be economics. A subject, I might have never experienced had it not been for him. I am not sure how others have learnt it, but I fell in love with it.
It just flowed through me — he had that gift. You didn’t feel like you were learning or studying but rather allowing the subject to become you and you become it.
He encouraged discovery and depth and exploration of the subject.
That one year of learning economics with him made me love it so much I ended up graduating in it – not for the teachers that came post – but for that one who ignited the love of the subject within me.
I learnt how to fall deep into a subject you love and allow it to teach you.
As I write this I understand now that he shaped the way I have approached life. The way he taught in those two years set a love of learning for life.
He loved to learn and he loved to teach.
Today as a parent I see that we get stuck in the specifics of the school and what it teaches our kids, yet a child I don’t remember what I was taught as much as who taught me and how I was taught. I remember the teachers and therefore the schools that made me feel good, confident and worthy and the ones that sparked a light within.
I don’t remember their teachings so much as the energy they evoked in me.
Today all I ask for my children is that every teacher they meet will do all this – simply by recognising their spark and igniting it further, deeper and stronger.
To every teacher that loves to teach; that is inspiring, passionate, alive, different, crazily and deeply in love with sharing, teaching and learning
We need you. We need more of you.