The Secret to Being a Model Teacher


Some of my most memorable moments in high school surround a teacher. Pretty strange, isn’t it? I remember her quite vividly – light brown complexion, almond eyes, wavy shoulder-length hair, radiant personality proportionately mixed with an aura of sternness. Mrs Clarke was a model teacher. She brought life to English Literature – a subject often labelled as dull and boring. She always found refreshing ways to engage us. We would view films based on the novels we were studying. And there was that time she had us memorize entire portions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar so we could perform in class. She even made us mimic that southern drawl while reading Huckleberry Finn. I didn’t realize it at the time but she was my role model.

As much as she was creative with teaching strategies, that’s really not what stands out in my mind the most. What really touched me  was the keen interest she took in her students. Everyone knew her to be a no-nonsense person but there was just something special about the way she was with us. One day, I happened to be walking past in the schoolyard when I suddenly caught her attention. She pulled me aside and demanded that I pull  my socks up, literally! I was donning ankle socks which I had achieved by tucking them far down inside my shoes. To wear socks that way was against the school rules and she was not deterred by my pouting lips, folded arms or defiant glares. Hence, I was left no choice but to stoop and undo the fashion faux pas while she towered over me with a serious look on her face; expressing her disappointment that I was breaking the rule. Surprisingly, she didn’t stop there. She topped it off with words of encouragement and made me promise never to do it again. I don’t quite recall her exact words but I know it made quite a difference to me in the end.

After that encounter, I was resolute that she would never have to scold me again. I eagerly attended all her classes, listened attentively, participated in the lessons and completed all reading assignments; meeting all deadlines. Later that year, after sitting the end of year examinations, I received the highest score in my class. I was absent from school for one day but upon my return, I was eagerly filled-in by a classmate. Mrs. Clarke had read my essay to the entire class. I scored ninety-six percent and only because she deducted four points as a result of my failure to rule the margins she had requested (I told you she was stern! haha). The following year, I sat the Caribbean Secondary Examinations and came out among the top performances in English B (Literature) with a straight A profile. Of course, she was right there, arms wide, expressing how proud she was. It has been two decades since I had those experiences but they’re still etched in my mind until this day.

Little did I know that I would someday follow in her footsteps. Although I cannot say that I’m anywhere near the calibre of teacher she was, I am proud to have someone so upstanding that I can emulate. Teachers, you are sometimes the only source of inspiration that some children will ever see. Invest time and effort into your lessons but never forget the power of love and gentle redirection. Sometimes, what your students need most, in this moment, is not what is found in the curriculum. Teaching is more than a profession. It is a ministry. And, guess what? You can be a model teacher too. It’s really not a big secret, after all – simply put, just teach from the heart!

Do you have a teacher who has impacted your life in a positive way? Why not share it with us? Comment below or drop me a line here so we can publicly recognize the educators who have helped to shape our destiny!


7 thoughts on “The Secret to Being a Model Teacher


    Teachers as mirrors, from whom to learn
    To rest from function, to function from rest

    Bereft in sunlight’s brightness as a candle
    Of use only in the consuming
    And the being brought to nought
    All is dust and rust
    As birds beyond the glass escape from view
    Into futures where all maybes are while I
    Remain in now where only maybe is

    Reflecting, refracting back through darker days
    Pitting the dim forgetfulness of memory
    Against the dusk, the dawn, the falling leaves
    It’s not the words at any time
    (Especially in recall)
    That count along the rosary of reverie
    But what goes on behind, within the words

    Shorestander, confusing the sea’s innocence
    With some unbidden guilt of his own
    From pure self-interest does not steal
    From self-protection does no harm
    The tides run thick and dirty whiles
    Reflecting a legion sky whose night
    Has lost the tenure of the day

    Dust on mirrors, teachers unheeded
    Oscillating from intensity to extremity
    Possessed of a prehensile tongue
    Crying wordless hymns to the living rain
    Speaking wildly waiting for an answer
    From whom is hidden nothing
    But his very blindness

    In a rolling and colourful world of waves
    Where two become three (or seem) that never were but one
    To embrace each his differentness – the alien in others, in oneself
    … That never were but one, who loves us all (forever)
    That none can deny, who are his flesh
    The body as landscape, an artwork of defiance
    Leaving a trail in the otherwise untrodden

    A line dictates and bounds a form
    To be without a form then take no line
    In silence lose all forms as ripples fade
    All expression relative reiteration of the absolute
    The centre of whom we may not speak
    For how then shall I tell of thee
    Who am to me as I?

    Whose rule is endless
    Whose pencil is revolving
    Whose lists are incomplete
    Who has not come to a conclusion
    Who is researching his autobiography
    Still silence has been dissected by better lines
    And who am I?

    Separation not for waste, for duplication; still less duplicity
    But trust in the unknown, though the watch
    Replace the spire bell, the car the cycle
    Mystery of beauty undeserving still observed
    Till lover, love and beloved are unravelled
    And a traveller may be one with his cycle and free
    From the view of things surrounding through some already window

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing this great post, Ben! Teachers are truly mirrors to the world. You know, I’ve always enjoyed following your blog. You may recall my poetry blogs Supersonic Euphony and Dissertations of the Heart. yes, it’s me… just another genre of writing now 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Christine's Collection and commented:
    We’re heading into August and all too soon summer holidays will be over for school students around the world. Recently I have found a couple of inspiring articles about being a teacher and have permission to reblog them so you can be enthused, too.
    Let’s all try to encourage our teachers whenever we get the chance. With the situations they face every day they really need someone in their cheering section.


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