Teaching can be a thankless job. Walking into a classroom full of intermittently boisterous and silently sullen students who’d rather be truants every morning can’t be easy for the poor souls who try their best to help every working day of their lives. Besides working tirelessly from nine to five every weekday, teachers are often unable to finish all the work required of them and must then take papers, tests, and assignments home to be marked closely as students progress is monitored. There goes their weekends, spent in red ink on essays about butterflies because there’s really nothing better they’d rather be doing.
All this for quite meagre pay and the satisfaction of seeing successful students succeeding in their communities. All this while teams of ungrateful children mock them behind their backs. Teachers are arguably engaged in one of the most societally vital professions available. They ensure that the coming generation is well vetted in all the important topics which are needed for success. Despite all this, they’re often treated poorly.
Some teachers have taken to teaching because it’s a stable job which provides adequate pay and is unlikely to change a great deal with time. Such teachers typically hand out worksheets then sit at the front of the class doing their own thing for a while before announcing that it’s time to watch a lengthy documentary. These are not the people I refer to when I refer to teachers. Teachers are more than just professionals with a job title; they’re the kind of people who get a great deal of personal satisfaction out of opening doors for their students. They have an inbuilt desire to learn and spread what they’ve learned to the people around them.
Teachers of this latter group are hurt when they see students fail. Far from wanting to cause pain and misery, though I know it often seems as though this is what they’re trying to do, these teachers want to see their students come back later on in life, wearing silver cufflinks. They want to see the world around them grow and succeed. These teachers are fundamentally selfless, but still there’s something they would like if you could spend a few moments giving it to them whenever possible. What they want is thanks.
In the same way that you like to hear praise whenever you’ve finished a biology test and received a good grade, these teachers like to hear praise when they’ve delivered an effective lesson on geography. They know most of the long division and calculus they’re teaching is dull. They know that you don’t wake up in the morning raring to go learn about the colonial history of the Portuguese. But most importantly, they know that while these history lessons aren’t nearly as fun for you today as playing the latest Call of Duty game is, in the long term these lessons are what is going to help you most to be happy.
Perhaps they aren’t your favourite people in the world. Perhaps they aren’t perfect. Perhaps sometimes it feels as if they’re being slightly sadistic. Regardless of how frustrating the lesson is though, always remember to thank your teacher.
Written by Marcomms Intern, Jack Seaberry.