Teachers play a great role in our lives, especially in the early days and have a greater impact on our successes than we typically realise.
Children, especially at a young age are so excited about the world around them. They are filled with curiosity and an imagination that is sincere and generous. Every day is an opportunity to discover something new about themselves and the world around them. Thus, it is important that they find teachers who are filled with the same passion, allowing them to explore their talents and inculcate the love of learning. Every child is unique and a passionate teacher can identify their uniqueness and support them on their individual paths. A passionate teachers cares enough to provide all the support and resources necessary for a child’s development. It is these early years of a child’s growth that form the foundation to later years as a successful adult.
Lasting impact of a teacher on young minds
In his blog The GatesNotes, Bill Gates writes about how Mrs Caffiere, a librarian and teacher, helped him break out of his shell by sharing her love of books with him. While Gates was a timid 9-year-old boy shying away from everyone and trying to hide his love for books, Mrs Caffiere helped him recognise his strength and encouraged him to do what he loved.
“Looking back on it now, there’s no question that my time with Mrs Caffiere helped spark my interest in libraries (Melinda’s and my first large-scale effort in philanthropy) and my focus on helping every child in America get the benefit of great teachers,” says Gates in his blog post A Teacher Who Changed My Life.
Teachers are the ones who recognise the natural talents of the students and build an environment that is conducive to their learning. It is remarkable to see how a teacher can have such a powerful influence in shaping the personality of a young child.
What does research say about teachers?
The influence of a teacher is not just limited to a student’s academic life but goes a long way resonating through various other stages. Economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman and Jonah E. Rockoff conducted a study on more than a million students and released it in their paper entitled, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teachers Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood.
They found that high ‘value-added’ teachers not only have an impact on the test scores of students but also improve their chances of attending good colleges, earning more, living in better neighbourhoods and saving more for retirement.
However, it is also important to understand that a teacher who lacks interest can be detrimental to a student’s development. Such a teacher might just follow the instructions of the regulators, being ignorant to the needs of the student.
Just like the passion of a good teacher is contagious and motivates students to achieve higher goals, an indifferent teacher can lead to lower self-esteem in a child. When children feel accepted by their teacher, they believe in themselves too. On the contrary, an uninterested teacher might tear down the self-esteem of the child. Such children often grow up to be adults who are insecure and focus on their failures more than their successes.
Research states that it is what teachers know, do, and care, which accounts for 30% of the student’s achievement. While one student might need the motivation to play the next match after an injury, the other might be going through personal troubles and needs someone to talk to. Students in all stages of their life need a teacher who can inspire them and re-instil faith in their capabilities.
Do you remember that one teacher who inspired you to be who you are today?