The ones who encouraged us to find our voice, who believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves, the one who you hated at first but loved in the end.
Turns out good teachers really do have lasting impacts on us.
According to a study conducted by economists from Harvard and Columbia universities, a good teacher can not only improve a child’s test scores in the classroom, but it can improve her chances to attend college, earn more money and avoid teen pregnancy. (Read more on CNN.)
This study looked at the long-term impact of teachers based on their (controversial) “value-added” ratings. But the financial gains we receive isn’t the most important takeaway from a solid education.
Teachers can give us something books, paychecks and mutual funds can’t: they give us confidence, hope and that feeling that we can actually be anything we want.
My third-grade teacher — a nice nun — picked to read one of my stories to the class, which was both embarrassing and thrilling. My sixth-grade teacher — who gave us the blow-by-blow of her recent C-section — told me I had the chops to be a writer. And my English prof at the University of Hawaii-Manoa said life was so hard on me, I had to be destined for something great.
While I don’t think I’ve reached the level of “greatness,” I do think these three teachers — and there were more — made me feel like day-dreaming about being a writer wasn’t ridiculous. It was doable — and all I needed was desire and a plan.
I owe a lot of my career to the teachers in my life — some were teachers by professions; others teachers by actions — who instilled in me the courage to walk this path and the tools to survive it.
Who was that teacher who inspired you?