My quest for answers continued with garnering insight into the student's opinion of what makes a memorable teacher. It led me to an Algonquin College alumnus, who wished to remain anonymous. Their experiences with the teachers during their own educational journey brought new meaning to the idea of being memorable.
Q: What makes a memorable teacher?
A: A memorable teacher is defined by compassion and a desire to help.
[...] A memorable teacher will set up a connection with the students, which comes from a genuine desire to help students succeed in life.
A memorable teacher will go out of their way to make a lesson easy to understand, and easy to remember — [...] the purpose of school is to learn, but this is useless if the student merely forgets everything later.
A memorable teacher is someone who makes a genuine, positive difference in their students' lives.
Q: Has it changed the way you are, the way you learn, the way you experience life?
A: I'll answer this with an example. The one subject I often struggled in was math. I always worked hard and never failed, but I always struggled, and grew frustrated with myself and my abilities. One year, a math teacher noticed my frustrations, and went out of her way to help me. She would offer extra help at lunch, frequently encouraging me to attend. We would work on practice problems and formulas, she would analyze past tests with me, and overall, did everything she could to help. She once changed the class seating arrangement, and told me she intentionally sat me next to the best student in the class, who could help me with assignments I didn't understand. I ended up passing with an excellent mark, which simply wouldn't have happened if I didn't have her as my teacher. [...] It was a great feeling to have someone go out of their way for me, and I was very lucky to have her.
Q: Can being memorable be taught?
A: I certainly believe strategies can be taught to help teachers learn how to go above and beyond in helping their students. But it takes a very special person to truly be a memorable teacher. At its core, I believe it's all about truly wanting to help, and setting out to make a difference in the lives of students; and that can't necessarily be taught.
Photo Credit: Kim Meijer
Samantha is an avid reader and writer, who finds relaxation in the imaginary worlds she creates. Her non-fiction work has been published for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and she has won awards for her short fiction in the annual Remembrance Day Legion contest. When she's not writing, Samantha is sketching famous or familial people.