Tomorrow is May 1. When I think of May, I think “graduation.”
Our church emphasizes graduation by a tradition of “sending off” graduating seniors through a wonderful night for the seniors, with each class of students preparing something for the evening (a nice dinner, skit/video, etc.). The seniors sit at the lead table and get embarrassed as adulation flows from the excitable underclassmen.
On my night, years ago, the freshman class presented a skit for each senior. For me, their skit was entitled “Great Teacher Chuckie.” That’s right – Great Teacher Onizuka meets me (Charles), the soon-to-be-teacher. The premise made the whole audience burst out laughing.
It was an evening I’ll always treasure.
I never watched that anime, so I’m not sure exactly how great of a teacher Onizuka is, but I can say this firmly: I was most certainly not a great teacher. I struggled with self-control, particularly. But I can say this – I loved the kids enough that somehow, through all my faults, I was able to touch the lives of a number of my students.
This reminds me of Yukari from Azumanga Daioh; for all her laziness and tardiness, she manages to truly invest in her students’ lives.
Teachers have the power to change students’ lives by simply caring for them; this is a heavy responsibility, and it’s why I get very upset about some in the profession that fake their way through it. There’s something particularly slimy about a teacher who doesn’t care about kids (or people). The blogosphere is full of teachers (ticket to Japan!), and some fit the “slimy” category very nicely, like educators who don’t like kids (wat?) or English teachers who tear aspiring writers down.
On the other hand, my interactions with other current and former educators (R86, 2DT, and Alexander) lead me to imagine they were/are wonderful teachers. It’s funny how interactions with teachers outside of the classroom can tell you so much about how that person teaches. It was the same during my school experience – the teachers I met who genuinely care about the kids (snide remarks aside) were the ones who left the biggest impact. It’s why I can confidentally say the three bloggers I named above are those likely to impact their kids, while the earlier, unnamed ones, even though they might be able to deliver content perfectly, otherwise won’t be the ones changing lives (not for the better, at least).
This outside reflection of our heart isn’t limited to teaching, though; it’s an idea that touches us all.
When it comes to relationships, what we are inside will always make it’s way to the surface. One with an unloving heart (that of the uncaring teacher) will leave a negative impact or no significant one at all in his relationships. One with a loving disposition (that of a kind educator) will make a positive mark on people. The goal, of course, is to be the latter.
But the question is, which are you?