“Be nice or leave.” That was an important rule in my eighth grade English class. It was said constantly by both my teacher and the students. Though us students sometimes said it as a joke(and the teacher too), our teacher did take that rule very seriously. If our teacher was around, no one could get away with saying putting down another student. Our homeroom was a fun class. We weren’t all close friends or anything, but we all got along fairly well in that class, and that had a lot to do with our teacher. She wanted to have fun and be serious. She was laid back, but had control over the class. We knew we could joke around, but she made it clear when it was time to be serious. Most of us considered it our favorite class. It was the one class I absolutely hated having a substitute in. Though I haven’t been back for a while, I still go and visit that teacher. I feel like I can tell her almost anything. She made a lasting impact on me. I couldn’t tell you any vocab word I learned that year, and I still can’t tell you what a direct or indirect object is(though she tried many times to teach me) but I can tell you how important it is to be kind. If there’s one specific thing I remember happening in that class, it’s this:

I had my hand raised, and I was smiling. My teacher knew I was either going to say something stupid, or ask a deep question. We both knew she was trying to ignore me, which only made me laugh harder. A student behind me told our teacher I wasn’t going to calm down until she called on me. I don’t remember if she called on me or not, but I do remember laughing really hard, and somewhere along the line, my teacher started laughing, and I’m sure other students were laughing too. My teacher, smiling and recovering from laughter, looked at me and said,” Faith, the world is a better place with you in it.” She probably doesn’t remember any of that happening, but I have never forgotten that day.

In the ninth grade, I was blessed with yet another awesome English teacher. She was fun and had a lot of school spirit. She liked to joke around, but she also had very serious moments. At least once a week, she’d spend the entire period telling her classes that it was up to them to do well. It didn’t matter what our situation was-we could somehow get out of it. I always enjoyed those talks she had with our class. The government wants us to learn a very strict curriculum, but some teachers(the most passionate ones as I’ve noticed) want us to learn about life. They want us to have values and morals more than they want us to have a five paragraph essay in MLA format. They want us to do well, but they also want us to do good. I spent many lunch periods as a freshman in that classroom, just talking to my teacher. And I did the same sophomore year. And now I’m a junior, and I still go to her class almost every lunch and talk to her. She’s the teacher I can joke around with about almost anything, ask for advice on anything, talk about politics with, and when I’m having a rough time, I can vent to her. I don’t really remember what I learned English wise in her class, but life wise, I’ve learned a lot. She’s given me really helpful advice that I will continue to use throughout my life. I’ve gone through some tough situations, and her advice greatly helped. 

There’s another English teacher who I’ve never had, but hope to have as a senior next year. On social media, she constantly says how much she loves her job. I’ve never once heard her truly complain about her job. And the students love her too. I’ve never heard a negative thing from the students about her. And you know something? They don’t love her because she’s really good at English. They love her because she’s the kind of teacher you can talk to about anything and, like the other teachers I’ve mentioned, wants you to learn more than the mandated curriculum. 

The government gives public schools a curriculum that teachers are required to teacher. I’ve had teachers who go strictly by the curriculum, and that’s fine. They’re doing their job. But the teachers who teach more than the curriculum are the teacher who have the greater impacts on their students. When a teacher is really passionate, a student have a higher chance of being more passionate too. The teacher who goes strictly by curriculum and the students don’t exactly feel like they can talk to her is not the teacher best remembered. The teachers who tell you you’re worth something and teach about life are the teachers you don’t soon forget.


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