As a student, the piece that always stuck with me is what a great teacher did for me as a student growing up. In short, they challenged and pushed me to be the best possible student, dedicated student-athlete and overall person!
As a child, my English was not a first language. It wasn’t until grade (2) that I could actually speak English. I credit this to a kind teacher – Mr. Dawson! He literally pushed me and reminded me I needed to be better, I needed to embrace English, I needed to fully commit myself to being a student and more importantly a person who did not see challenges as an obstacle, but a motivating factor.
As a first generation Canadian – my family believed in the value of education. To my mom and dad, the path to success was education. They pushed. I accepted the push and finished with 2 Masters degrees – an MBA and a Masters in Education.
In addition, I wanted to be that kind of teacher for students. Ultimately, this is what inspired me to teach. I wanted to demonstrate you could really impact someone by really caring. In my opinion, that is the difference from just being a teacher, going through the motions, and a good teacher. One who listened and took what he heard to help, nurture, and build. A teacher is more than an instructor or a lesson planner. A teacher remembers their audience and speaks to them in a way they can relate. Their job, in my opinion, is to get the most out of them. And in order to do so, a teacher must learn how to get the student to provide this. It isn’t forced. Once that great connection is made, a student will be more than willing to give it all they have.
I was always drawn to students who were cast off or made to feel school wasn’t for them. I call these students college bound kids – those who may not have seen the benefit of education or understood how to learn within the construct of our education system. Truth be told, our system is not for every mind. I know this first hand. I thus became very motivated in finding minds who could in fact absorb, but needed to learn how to absorb a certain way. There is nothing more gratifying than turning on the light for an individual who has the hunger to be more than they thought they could ever be! I sought those students. I sought those moments. And I did so because in my world, this is what a teacher needs to do. He needs to find a way through. And once you find it, once they drink the Kool-Aid…there is no stopping their potential.