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Challenging teachers makes a world of difference

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Melinda Sanchez, Arts Editor

Melinda Sanchez, Arts Editor

Teachers have the power to influence a student, whether in preschool, kindergarten, high school or college.

It is not just the power to influence their lives, but to make an impact on the way the student performs in class.

Ever since my first day at school, I’ve always liked my teachers, and I’ve always done quite well in their classes. I believe that if a student likes a teacher and enjoys being in his or her class, the student will feel almost compelled to do well. The student doesn’t want to let the teacher down. When a teacher/student relationship becomes more than that, and the student realizes that the teacher sees them as more than “just another student,” then the student feels like they want to do good to please the teacher, as well as everyone else. Of course, that mentality comes mostly to younger children, like myself, when I was in elementary school.

As children grow into adolescents, there sometimes comes conflicts, and not every teacher is a hero. In middle school, I was still in the phase where I enjoyed all my classes and teachers. I still felt the need to do well, mostly because of the positive attention I was rewarded with.

However, when I advanced to high school, I immediately found teachers that I disliked, despised and even hated. Needless to say, I did not perform well in their classes. I felt like a rebel, and always wanted to make the teacher upset. If an assignment was supposed to be one way, I questioned it, and challenged it. In a way, I was determined to have things my way, and that led to constant disappointments.

I remember that I had a great Advanced Placement English teacher my junior year of high school, and again felt compelled to do well and to bring my academic performance up to par. There was something different about this teacher.

When she left, I was stuck with a horrible AP English teacher my senior year. My progress decreased and I had found a teacher I despised as no other teacher before.a

I hated her class, and everything about it. The writing, the format, and the way she taught. Slowly through the year, I let down my shield of hate, and my grades soon began to rise. I did well, and I actually liked the teacher more and more.

The other day I drove by my high school and saw my teacher’s name up on the marquee. She was ranked among the top five teachers in California for “Teacher of the Year.” This did not surprise me, because in actuality, she was a great teacher. In fact, one of the best.

Upon reflection recently with my mother, she made a very valid point. She said that the reason I didn’t like the teacher was because she was a challenge for me. And that’s what I needed all along.

My point is, and I do have one, that sometimes those teachers you hate, the ones who challenge you, are the best teachers you’ll ever have. They make you think, and give you the challenge you need to break through your own stubbornness. There is something more to a teacher/student relationship than just learning. It’s the desire for knowledge and success that they aspire for you, and the faith you place in them to provide make it special.

Have more than just an in-class session with your teachers and professors. Say “hello” when you see them on campus. You would be surprised what an impact it makes.

As for my wake up call, thanks Ms. Prince, you made a world of a difference.

Melinda Sanchez, a sophomore communications major, is arts and entertainment editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at bluhartz88@hotmail.com.

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