Posted by Hadley Kombrink
With the recent release of the newest Twilight movie, as well as an evening spent at a Demi Lovato concert, I found myself thinking about the concept of the role model. Growing up, I spent half the time wanting to be “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the other half wanting to be a prosecuting attorney. One of my best friends, however, wanted to be just like her sixth grade teacher, Ms. Atlas.
This memory got me thinking: How many of us ever viewed our instructors or teachers as our role models? Looking back, I had several influential teachers who encouraged me to continue in subjects I thought I would give up on and to take my thoughts and ideas farther and apply to conferences.
I also had those professors whose courses were so challenging that I remember their assignments like it was yesterday. Those were the classes and experiences that I recall, not the “Easy A’s.” And ultimately, those were the professors I went back to again and again for advice, critiques, and to learn more about their past studies.
I think we need to look at our instructors as the people to aspire to resemble, more so than the women swooning over sparkly vampires, or pro-basketball players earning millions to sit on a bench. Those celebrities deserve their success, but I believe we need to be investing in our instructors and faculty the way they are investing in us.
Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job, nor is it one taken on lightly. As I sit across from one of my instructors every Monday, I know that I have learned more from his experience than I ever would from a textbook. Not every teacher, coach, or administrator is perfect, but 99% are out there to encourage, challenge, and ultimately, effect lives.
So the next time your son or daughter tells you they want to be like LeBron or Barbie, ask them what they think of their school teacher. And as non-traditional students, ask how is that instructor challenging you, and making you a better critical thinker? They are here to help you to become the best version of you that you can be.
Every few years, one of my brother’s teachers would contact my mother to ask her how my brother was doing in school, what he was up to, etc. My brother is now 22, and this woman had him in her sixth grade class, at age 11. Throughout those eleven years, she was still looking out for her student. I’m not sure we can ask for better influences or role models for our children or ourselves.
Keep this in mind when you find yourself discouraged in your courses, and never hesitate to reach out to your instructors for help, guidance, or just to learn from them. After my experience working with the School for Professional Studies for the last year and a half, I can tell you these instructors and faculty members are just those people, they are here for you.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14876275@N05/5694610243/