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The Irreplaceable Role of Teachers


During one of my elective courses in university, we held a seminar exploring the role of teachers in education.

As my fellow classmates Kai and Nicole mentioned polarizing experiences with how their teachers affected their interest in a subject, I couldn't help but reflect on the influence my twelfth-grade English teacher had on my learning.

His humorous yet explorative seminars were engaging and informative, helping me stay immersed during a rather discouraging time of hybrid learning. However, although he taught the English curriculum quite well, there was something of greater personal importance taught in his class seminars.

Despite being his own unique being with his own set of experiences and traits vastly different from mine, his teaching resonated within me as if he truly did know me inside out. Although , his innovative efforts during discussions to provide intrusions and thought-provoking questions made receiving his gift irresistible, which in turn profoundly influenced my enthusiasm and perspective on learning (Biesta, 21). As I wrote in my end-of-the-year reflection in the class:

Critical thinking, concisely and/or creatively developing and supporting your ideas, learning more about the world and the experiences and ideas of others, being able to partake in discussions, all of these different skills incorporated into ELA will never disappear from my life. It's profoundly changed my character, knowledge, and my mindset on learning as a whole.

A STEM student who was once solely focused on memorizing definitions and solution steps became more curious and open-minded towards the innumerable abstract concepts and areas that exist on this earth, fascinated during the analysis of literature and the themes within them. Through his teaching, he inherently prioritized and facilitated a student's capabilities as a learning outcome, encouraging some distinctive features of the four capacities of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) mentioned in Biesta's Reinventing the Curriculum. Aside from my obvious manifestation as a "successful learner", I've also developed a confident individual's sense of integrity and self-awareness, a responsible citizen's respect and curiosity for different beliefs and cultures, and an effective contributor's enterprising and critical attitude, all without explicit intention.

Instead of promoting government-imposed curriculums and learning requirements related to personal behaviour such as the CfE, a teacher's connection and inspiration upon their students is the key to naturally integrating these proposed values into an educational environment. When comparing my peers’ collective aversion towards the requirements and projects imposed upon by the BC core competencies in relation to my own personal revelations, it is evident that even the most revolutionary changes in a curriculum cannot help students internalize such capacities and skills as much as the intimate facilitation a teacher provides. Such conformative measures cannot properly accommodate a class' uniqueness and needs, but a teacher can understand their class’ different needs and adapt accordingly; they can provide the intrusions and torpification necessary to guide a class into meaningful classroom experiences and lessons that imprint life-long character development in students like myself.

Want more of the ideas and thoughts in my mind?