Being a teacher comes with more responsibility than just showing up for work and delivering a lesson. We deserve teachers that greet us at the door with nothing but excitement when they welcome us into their classrooms. We need teachers that believe in us and still motivate us even after we feel like giving up on ourselves. Having a teacher that never stops pushing us and showing us that we matter to them can change our lives.
Most people think that if a teacher is present in their classroom, then students are learning. That’s not always true. I witnessed with that my own eyes. I had a teacher during my junior year who would always bring up the fact that he’s getting paid regardless of whether or not he teaches us anything of value. He would do this whenever someone did not cooperate with what he said or if the whole class wasn’t quiet while he talked. To me, that showed he didn’t really care about our future as much as he should. Either way, it showed that we didn’t affect him and what he had going on in his life.
My art teacher told me and a few other friends that we were not going to be anything in life, because she didn’t like the fact that we were holding conversation and drawing at the same time. She felt like good work had to be done in silence. We didn’t deserve to get talked to that way. She could have handled that so much better. She could have politely asked us to stop talking.
Who would want to even come to school when our teachers doubt and threaten us whenever they get upset? We are growing adults. We need motivation and role models. School is hard enough in itself; we need the adults who work with us to uplift us, not put us down.
Though I’ve had many teachers who didn’t seem to care about my future or education, I have had a few that have really made a difference. One of them, Mr. Lachermeier, also known as “Lach,” was so outstanding that I wouldn’t miss his class for anything in the world. He brought life to education. He didn’t just sit at his desk and hand out papers. He didn’t stand like a statue in front of the class, teaching out of a textbook. He never once brought up getting paid. Most importantly, he never seemed to give up on anyone who stepped foot into his classroom. Not all teachers are like Lach, but we need them to be.
Lach teaches history at North High. When I would walk into his history class, I’d always think to myself, “I wonder what we doing today,” because every day he did something different with us. That’s what brought excitement; you never knew what he had up his sleeve. One day Lach told the class that we were going to learn about the Greensboro sit-in. When we arrived, we watched a video of college students protesting non-violently by sitting in the whites only section of a restaurant, reading books after being denied to be served. Nobody in the restaurant agreed with the choice they made so they beat the college students really badly.
Lach decided to bring this history to life by having us act out what happened at the sit-in, but he added his own twist. Instead of beating each other, we had to make the protestor laugh. Once you laughed, you changed spots with another classmate. That’s the type of dedication and thought we need teachers to put into their curriculum.
Each and every day, Lach showed that he wanted to be there for us, and he always was! Every time a hand went up, his eyes lit up. He would say things like “Yes, yes, yes! I love questions! Hit me!” That reaction creates confidence in students. When I got stuck on something, he always told me, “you got this.” Hearing that come from someone who graduated from high school, finished college, and is currently pursuing a career made me feel like “yes, he’s right! I got this!” He never let me give up.
Lach is the reason why I wanted to come to school every day during my junior year of high school. He gives students hope, and not all teachers do that. Teachers play a big part in a student’s life. We spend half of our days at school, Monday through Friday. I feel like it’s unhealthy to be around a bunch of toxic teachers for that many hours a week. Since we spend so much time at school, we would greatly benefit from teachers that care.
To help students feel more engaged teachers should teach a hands on curriculum. They should show students that they care by saying encouraging things to them when they feel like giving up and make them feel comfortable with asking questions. We need teachers with excitement and energy. I believe energy is shared; if the teacher has a positive attitude, it can rub off on students. We need teachers who we can look up to.
We need to see our teachers constantly motivating us. We know when they don’t care. It just takes one teacher to make a student feel so important and worth it.
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