Today (October 15th) is Teacher’s Day in Brazil. And in our school’s special celebration moment for the teachers we had a reflection on the importance a teacher can have in a student’s life. The impact we have sometimes. What the students take from us when they leave us. Part of my motivation for writing this also came from a recent post in Karenne Sylvester’s blog: Running Towards TEFL. She talks about how TEFL teachers are many times perceived by others, and the comments discuss that too. Here in Brazil, education is not a respected profession (with maybe the exception of Univesity professors). SO I decided to write a post and pay homage to meaningful teachers I’ve had.
When I think back I remember many wonderful, inspiring teachers. From school, from English classes, from sports I practiced. But there were two that left a deeper mark on me, a lasting influence. The first was my Portuguese/Literature teacher during high school – Myrtha Magalhães. The second was at the university, when I studied Graphic Design, Gustavo Bomfim – he taught us aesthetics. They both had something in common. They both challenged their students. They challenged us to think outside the box, to not conform to what was expected from us. They never accepted ready-made answers. They pushed us to question the status quo - and to take it only if it felt right to us, if we believed it to be right after we thoroughly examined it. They tried to make us thinkers, not just repeating what was give to us. And they made us do all of that with respect. Respect for others, for the others’ opinions. No absolute truths.
And I like to believe I do that. More importantly, I believe I bring that into my teaching – both when preparing lessons and teaching my students. I like to incentive my students to have their own opinions, to question what they see or hear, to look further. To accept different opinions. I try to teach tolearance. That is probably the most significant lesson I learned from them, what I took from them.
So thank you to all my teachers. And especially those two. To sir (and ma’am), with love.
I’d love to know what you learned from one of your teachers and brought into your teaching…