It is not rare to hear people say a certain teacher had a positive impact on their lives. When I think back at all the teachers I had, I realize that the one who had the most positive influence on me was the one who showed genuine curiosity in me and in my interests.
I remember that my 9th grade French teacher made a point of having personal exchanges with all of her students on a regular basis. Once she realized that I enjoyed reading but that I didn’t really know what to read besides the school-imposed novels, she started giving me book suggestions, and asking my opinion about them. Thanks to her, I had a chance to dive into the universe of Gabrielle Roy, Michel Tremblay, and so many other authors and different genres. She made me discover a vast world that I have never wanted to leave since, the world of books.
I will always remember our discussions, and the pride I felt that someone valued my opinion and really listened to what I had to say. I was a timid young teenager, and our relationship became a catalyst for my assertiveness and confidence. I found myself embracing the fact that I loved literature and French grammar, which led me, among other things, to gather enough courage to submit my application to become a French tutor at my school.
Years later, having become a teacher myself, I consider giving conscious attention to my students is not only a priority, but an actual need coming from within. I’ve had the privilege of teaching to all ages, from pre-K to adults, and showing true interest and kindness towards my pupils has always had the same effect, no matter how old they are: it leads teacher and student to discover and assert themselves, define values, and evolve together. In this perspective, teaching curriculum, while being an important part of teaching, is really only one facet of the spectrum.
Offering and receiving rapt attention from another human being sometimes seems like a rare commodity these days. Let’s not underestimate the power of active listening and caring, because it ends up snowballing into a wonderful culture of having each other’s back, and… isn’t it one of the best feelings in the world?