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The Teachers We Remember

Author: Grace Hamelin
Photographer: Syx Langemann
4 years ago
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The Drive magazine in partnership with Libro Credit Union is challenging high school students taking grade 12 English to write an essay focused on their day-to-day lives. Once a school is selected, the top five articles chosen by the teacher are further reviewed by our editorial team and the winner receives a $500 RESP from Libro Credit Union, along with the publication of the essay in our issue. Congratulations to Grace Hamelin from  St. Anne High School for being our March winner!
We are proud of all the participants and will continue to support our community through continued literacy and a path to higher education.

In every student’s school career, there is at least one teacher who has made a considerable impact on his life. From the moment we enter kindergarten, teachers become critical role models that shape us into the people we are today. The most influential teachers approach the task of shaping a new generation with compassion, generosity, and a tremendous passion for sharing knowledge. These admirable traits carry over onto us, their impressionable students, and inspire us to become the best version of ourselves. 

Adolescence is a long, difficult journey of self-discovery, in which we face extremely important, yet awfully stressful, life decisions. As a seventeen-year-old student, I am living in the confusion, anxiety, and doubt that makes up teenagehood. However, these apprehensive feelings can be eased with small validations and reminders of our strengths and talents. One St. Anne’s High School student, Sara Chiarcos, recalls the response of her well-loved Philosophy teacher after she told him she had decided to study psychology in post-secondary school. “He said he could see me being successful in the pursuit of a career [as a psychologist] and going far with it.” These few short, yet meaningful words may not appear life-changing, but this comment has given Sara the affirmation she needed before confidently applying to university. A teacher’s simple, kind-hearted words of encouragement will motivate us to work harder and take steps to further develop our passions.

As students, we will always appreciate the extra effort that teachers put into giving their students a rewarding education. Personally, being an aspiring architecture student, I chose to take Technological Design as an elective course in grades ten, eleven, and twelve. To ensure I would get the most out of his class, my teacher took time out of his day to research the university program I want to pursue and tailored the projects he assigned me to the university curriculum. My teacher went above and beyond my expectations of the course by putting in extra time and energy to thoroughly teach me the important aspects of the design process specific to the skills I will need while studying architecture in my post-secondary education. His genuine concern for my future made a great difference in my experience as his student and the valuable knowledge I obtained throughout high school. 

In addition to embracing a student’s academic skills and assisting with classroom curriculum, the teachers who make the biggest impact are willing to be mentors beyond the classroom walls. For me personally, and for many of my peers, our favourite teachers have helped us through the stressors of adolescence and have expressed their compassion continually. A teacher’s compassion can be seen through small actions such as simply asking “how are you?” or showing an earnest curiosity in their students’ outside interests and lives. For instance, when Sara was experiencing a time of great strain and pressure, her Philosophy teacher recognized this and opened up his classroom to her as a safe place where she felt like she “had someone to confide in” and “wasn’t being judged.” This is a perfect example of how being an educator means having the honour of sharing life lessons and support that will stay with students as they develop their own identities and navigate life’s obstacles. 

In high school, one prominent hurdle students face is the daunting task of choosing a career path. As post-secondary applications approach, the intimidating undertaking of deciding on a field of study puts a tremendous weight on high school students. While a lucky few have discovered their passion at a young age, many other adolescents enter secondary school unsure about their future. A teacher’s enthusiasm for the subject he teaches can inspire students to explore new avenues. Ashley Poulin, a law student at St. Anne’s High School, says her teacher’s “dedication and excitement to share his knowledge allowed [her] to develop a keen interest in a subject area [she] would have otherwise never explored.” 

As a grade twelve student, I am grateful for the selfless, honourable work and effort teachers put into their careers as educators. Unforgettable teachers make their students feel heard and supported in and out of their school lives, and will remain as role models to their students forever. With the support and guidance of these well respected and admired adults, the intimidating and stressful tasks of planning our futures and discovering the best version of ourselves become much easier. 

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