Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Teachers are the second most significant people in a student’s life, after their parents. They serve as our role models from an early age, and every teacher we have throughout our lives — whether they are good or bad — leaves a lasting influence on us.

Generally, youngsters nowadays are not very mindful of the value of education. They do not hold their teachers in as much esteem as the students of the past did, nor do they care about what it means to be a good student.

Since this year’s Teachers’ Day is just around the corner, on October 5, let us look at how students can bond well with their teachers, gain knowledge and get inspiration from them, and show gratitude and appreciation.

Respect your teachers

From school through college, I have observed that not all students like to stand up or greet their teachers when they enter the class. In some cases, when students see teachers outside the class or school, they turn away their faces or change direction to avoid interaction with them.

It is so disrespectful not to acknowledge a teacher when you see them, no matter where you are or how long it has been since they last taught you. Your teachers may feel hurt when you do this, but they don’t say anything or show you. The downfall of students begins here. Whatever you give comes back to you. If you don’t show respect to your elders and teachers, then don’t expect the world to give respect to you. The truth is that students tend to respect those teachers whom they admire or may be of benefit to them in some way.

This is wrong, students must appreciate and treat all their teachers with respect and politeness. Doing so reveals your upbringing, values, personality and background. A mannerless person is not liked and appreciated by anyone. Your actions, words and demeanour should all convey respect for your teacher.

Sharing my personal experience as an example, I have always been respectful to my teachers, whether they were teaching me or not. Whenever I see any of my teachers, I approach them to offer Salaam and pay my regards to them. My teachers always remember me. It been years since I have left school and college, but still, whenever I go there, I always receive a warm welcome from my teachers. It’s a huge triumph for any former student to be remembered by their teacher.

Take their criticism positively

A major issue with students is that when teachers criticise or scold them, they become offended and start to hold a grudge against their teacher. Like our parents, teachers too want to see us successful and prosperous in life. Every teacher has an emotional attachment to their students, because teachers put in a lot of effort and work hard to nurture their students’ future.

They have utmost concern for students’ potential, but they get disappointed by students who waste their potential. They make you study hard and sometimes take strict measures to discipline students who find it challenging to follow class norms. Keep in mind that teachers need to focus on their duty, so if they take that responsibility seriously, they will obviously occasionally need to correct and even punish you and the other students when things go wrong.

For example, if your teacher points out a mistake you made in class, they are pointing out an error and not personally attacking you. In the same way, try not to become angry if you’re talking to a friend or otherwise being careless. Your teacher is simply calling your focus back to the lesson; they are not criticising you. After the class, apologise to your teacher and try not to do it again.

Be a good listener

Good listeners are always in the good books of teachers. Mostly A-grade students are good listeners. Teachers admire students who are attentive and responsive in class, because whatever teachers are telling, explaining or asking, is addressed to every student in the class. When they encounter a student not concentrating and causing disturbance in the class, they become offended and often scold that student as they don’t want their class discipline ruined by anyone.

So, when your teacher speaks, your eyes, face and shoulders should be upfront and straight. Don’t look out of the window, at the kid sitting next to you or the phone you’re trying to hide under your desk. Focus on your teacher, follow their instructions and take notes of what is being taught.

Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

Avoid all distractions during class lectures; don’t sit with your best friends as it is challenging to concentrate and pay attention in class when your friends chatter or distract you. Sitting next to a friend in class may seem exciting, but that’s precisely what will distract you during the lecture. Instead, sit somewhere else and plan to meet up later during break time.

I used to sit in front of the class, always prepared to note down important things the teacher said or wrote. But it is difficult to write while paying attention to the lecture, so I would write only after the teacher had completed the explanation, and would just jot down the keywords and concepts, along with the definition or other vital information to remember about the topic.

Seek help from teacher

Whether you have difficulty understanding any subject or have a problem with a bully or friend, always seek help from your teachers. They will always be there for you and give you the right advice and help you in need. Most of us feel shy or reluctant when discussing our issues with our teachers, but they can help us resolve our issues. For counselling to subject assistance, try to reach out to your teachers during breaks and free periods.

Teachers always admire such students who come to them for assistance and guidance since that means they are making some extra effort to learn.

Follow their guidelines

To succeed in life, one must follow the guidelines and advice of parents and teachers. They give sincere advice, and in the light of their wisdom, one can create a bright future.

I used to keep a diary with me, in which I used to write down the advice, guidelines and special instructions from my teachers. This diary turned out to be the diary of wisdom through which I made better decisions for my life and career.

Handle personality clashes wisely

Remain composed if by any chance you and a teacher don’t see eye-to-eye on a certain thing or don’t get along. It is a natural phenomenon that individual personalities often collide with each other. Don’t stress too much over a teacher who isn’t very sweet to you; do your part as a student.

Inform your parents and a student counsellor if a teacher treats you in any overtly mean or impolite way. Request a meeting with the teacher and your parent, if you need to do so. This can make you and your teacher feel more at ease while providing a forum to discuss potential issues. Speak your heart, resolve the issue, move forward and act professionally. In practical life, you will have both positive and negative kinds of interactions. You’ll need to be able to communicate and build positive rapport with others, and you won’t always get along with them.

Recognise that a healthy relationship with someone doesn’t require you to be close friends with them. If you concentrate on doing your best to pay attention in class and behave, your teacher will notice and react more positively to you.

Acknowledge their role in your achievements

Whatever the field you choose or what position you acquire in life, never forget your teachers at any stage of your success, because their wisdom will always guide you. All our teachers, from the very first ones to the most recent ones, leave indelible marks on our lives for the better. Each year, try to become a better version of yourself, strive for worthy goals and work hard. Before making any decision or taking any step for your future career, you can always count on your teachers.

On this Teachers’ Day, let us pledge to make teachers our best friends. It is a special day to thank and remember the teachers shaping our future. Be grateful to them for challenging us to give our best and instilling a passion for learning.

Remember: “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

Published in Dawn, Young World, October 1st, 2022

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