GUEST COLUMN • A Teacher Affects Eternity


Editor’s Note: This column was written by 2010 Hillsboro High School graduate Megan Turner, a former staff member at The Mt. Olive Herald. Her grandmother, Kathy Blankenship of Coffeen found it when she was cleaning out closets, and thought it was appropriate for what teachers and students are going through today.

The paper was written for an English IV class taught by Matt Vaughn, and the teacher Turner wrote about is Kelly Powell.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

This quote from Carl Jung puts into perspective just how important the friend in a teacher can be. Depending on the size of the town, a student might already be familiar with her advisers before she moves to high school.

Small towns frequently generate crossed-paths between many families in the community. Parents may have grown up around those who eventually went on into the field of education or students might have simply grown up around teachers. 

What exactly are the effects of knowing a teacher personally? Some positive aspects of being acquainted with instructors are that a student will strive to do her best in that class, or it could simply be that the teenager feels more comfortable learning from a friend.

Despite the occasional few who might take advantage of that relationship, the majority will excel in the course. I share this type of bond with one teacher in particular and I know that it compels me to do my best in her class, for fear of disappointing her otherwise.

I aim to give her a reason to be proud of me so that she feels she is performing her job adequately as well. This illustrates that the student is willing to learn and a teacher favors that attitude above all.

Maintaining higher grades earns the trust and faith of the instructor, which might lead to special perks like grading tests, running errands, or even babysitting their children. The friendship between the two is a great motivator to ensure the pupil goes above and beyond the required work.

In addition to performing to the best of abilities, remaining relaxed in the classroom is an effect of personally knowing teachers. It is sometimes difficult to ask questions during class, but the association with the instructor saves the student from the embarrassment that can come with those questions. Otherwise, it could be a discomfort to the student who does not understand the material and the adviser whose assistance is refuted.

Furthermore, teachers who notice that they have struggling students will attempt to talk to them about the problem; however, teenagers will shut down almost immediately. It is just the opposite when a teacher becomes a confidante. 

An unspoken understanding is established between the adviser and her pupil that says “come to me with any type of problem, and we will work it out together.” Just as friends comfort us in different situations, teachers keep us composed in the classroom.

On the whole, it is advantageous to be acquainted with teachers because it produces excellent grades and warm complacency within the classroom. The relationship is similar to that of a mother and a daughter.

Teachers provide us with the necessary material to go out into the world and do great things, just as mothers nurture their babies and help them grow; and as most instructors are mothers, they understand what it takes to achieve that goal.

Close friends have great impacts on our lives and “a teacher affects eternity, (she) can never tell where (her) influence stops.”


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