It’s that time of year again—it’s time to go back to school, to see your classmates and to meet your new teachers. Today students enjoy a spacious modern classroom with computers, tablets and other interactive learning tools. But school was not always this way. In the 1800s there were almost 200,000 one-room schools in the United States, and public education was free for everyone. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Tom went to a simple one-room school with many other children. There were usually about 40 pupils of different ages, from 6 to 14, and the teacher had to teach them all!
For most of them, the teacher was their only source of learning, because they lived on farms or in villages. Most of the pupils didn’t have any books at home and the nearby small towns didn’t have a public library!
A teacher can be a real inspiration and a role model in a student’s life. Often a teacher can make you understand yourself and your talents better than anyone else! Let me tell you about Mr Sanders, a teacher who made a real difference in my life.
Mr Sanders was our English Literature teacher at high school and he made literature come alive for us. We often had lessons in the beautiful courtyard of our high school, where Mr Sanders introduced us to the worlds of great writers like Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain, Hawthorne and many others. He made us understand the importance of a writer’s role in society. I began to realize how far-reaching and influential a writer’s message can be.
One day Mr Sanders asked me what I wanted to do in my life. My answer was, “I want to be a writer.” From that day on he encouraged me to follow my dream and never give it up. He told me about an important essay writing contest sponsored by a California university, and I immediately entered the contest with an essay regarding international communications. I was one of the prize winners and this motivated me to follow my dream.
Another example of an amazing teacher is Mr Keating in Peter Weir’s film, The Dead Poet’s Society (1989). Mr Keating encourages his students to be themselves and to break away from conformity. He tells them, “Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary! No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Mr Keating turned on the light in the dark room of their daily lives. He was an inspiration to his students.
Remember, each one of you is special and unique, and a good teacher will recognize this uniqueness and help you develop it to the fullest.
TO GO FURTHER
In the film, The Dead Poet’s Society, Mr Keating tells his students: When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think.
How often do you do this? Why is it important? How many times have your ideas differed from the author’s ideas? Tell the class about it.