Anime Teachers Are Better Than Real Ones (Sometimes)

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.

Azumanga Daioh teacher
I driver better than Yukari…slightly. (Art by あつろう)

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?

11 thoughts on “Anime Teachers Are Better Than Real Ones (Sometimes)

  1. You’ve never watched GTO? You should! That was perfect that they did that for you. What a blessing! Teachers are important in children’s upbringing, a job that I feel is completely underrated. Parents are the first teachers a child meets but then she/he are introduced to a number of individuals who will impart lessons upon her/him. These individuals called school teachers should care about children and they should be cared about and respected as well. Right now it seems so many teachers are losing their way and seeing it as just a job and not realizing the magnitude of their importance.

    1. Too many teachers are like this. A lot of my colleagues were this way. But even so, you can go into teaching with a purpose other than becoming a lifelong educator and still be a good teacher. It’s those individuals who neither have a passion for education nor a heart that loves others who become worthless (or detrimental) as teachers.

  2. I have this really excellent English teacher. You can tell that she really loves her job ’cause she’s always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for her students. I once got a terrible attack of the exam nerves, (I suffer with crippling anxiety) and had to get her advice STRAIGHT AWAY, it was 10pm but, she still emailed me back promptly! Her passion for her subject really comes through in her lessons too, making them incredibly enjoyable. I agree, if you’re not willing to dedicate yourself to your subject, and your students, why teach?

    1. That’s awesome. I think if most of us think about it, we’ve had (or do have) one or more really great teachers, and almost all of them exhibited a love of students.

      Unfortunately, education is often a means to something else for teachers – it’s not their career goal. But even then, if a teacher has a good heart, he or she can certainly make an impact in a young person’s life.

  3. If I can throw my two cents in this as a student and teacher’s daughter who once thought about the career, but, not having self control doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher. It shows kids you’re human too and it shows you care enough to get angry.
    The teachers who were throwing things at me are the ones I remember the more fondly.
    I’ve always thought building trust between a teacher and their students more important than setting a good example.
    I think both come together in a way.

    1. Without going too prideful, yeah, I kind of tried to infer what you said – while I don’t have great self-control, I think at times I was a very good teacher (and at times, not so good).

      The “heart” is what’s more important to me. It’s a love of people and of kids that I think is most important.

      Thanks for the comments!

  4. Doing the teaching thing was one of my career aspirations that were shot down by my Tiger parents who wanted me to be nothing less than a “medical professional.” I feel that I do have qualities that would be suitable for the teaching profession, but I have my fears that I would put too much pressure on myself to ensure that my hypothetical students succeed. When I attribute their failures as my own failures, it leads to a downward spiral of loss in confidence in my own career.

    I don’t think it’s too late, though. I’m still reasonably young, and there is no shortage of time, despite the fact that it does pass by a lot more quickly as I get older.

    1. Ah, tiger parents. I feel for ya. A lot of my friends had such moms and dads, and my own mom exhibited some as well, though probably as little as a Korean woman of that generation could.

      The good thing about teaching is certainly that one can go into the education field years after college. One of the very best teachers from the high school at which I taught was a successful businessman, but decided to run after his passion for teaching after the age of 40.

    2. As a student in the health professions, I must say that health care professionals bear great teaching responsibilities — Pharmacists teach patients the ways to medicate properly (dosing, technique), nurse teach patient coping strategies, dietician teach healthy diets, Physiotherapists teach appropriate exercises for rehabilitation, occupational therapists teach adaptations to function impairments, audiologists teach lip reading, and doctors, especially, teach about healthy living, the diagnosis, and options moving forward from here.

      Long story short, health care is full of teaching moments. In the same way, a caring health professional makes all the difference just as a caring teacher does in the article above.

      1. Thanks for the comments. I think we generally think of the importance of teachers when it comes to primary or secondary students, but certainly higher education teachers are important, too, particularly when you get down to skills and knowledge that one needs to know in future professions. And how much more so when it comes to health care!

Leave a Reply