The title above, with its misplaced emphasis and punctuation, is obviously a tongue-in-cheek question. I can almost see the reaction in my mind though – my Primary School teacher (whom I absolutely adore despite me giving her continual grief) throwing her hands up in horror while she lectures me about checking my spelling and punctuation before submitting my work. Thank goodness for spellcheck, at least.
Yet, the joke does come with a need for some serious thoughts. What do teachers really want, and have any of us students, both past and present, actually reflected on what may be important to our educators other than a rose or a card once a year? Below is a list of Top 4 things teachers would really like.
1. They want support from people around them
Whether they are students, parents, school administration or the community, teachers would really love to know that they have the support and commitment from the people around them. Unreasonable parents, uncooperative students and unsupportive Head of Departments are commonly cited as part of the reasons teachers are not able to enjoy what they do.
This is worse especially since society put them on a moral pedestal, conveniently forgetting that teachers are (surprise, surprise) human and they really cannot magically solve all problems with your child just because you yell at them several times. At the end of the day, teachers just want to do what they do best – which is teach, and it is hard to do a good job if no one gives them the support they deserve.
2. They want you to know they’re not replacements for good parenting
Teachers are not replacement parents, and they should never be seen as one. No matter how dedicated teachers are to their profession, your child is your responsibility. Most teachers only see their students a couple of hours during the week, so there’s really only so much they can do. They can impart knowledge and skills, but it is your job to reinforce them at home and make sure that they are studying and doing their homework in their free time.
3. They want more time to do the things they love
People tend to forget that teachers are adults, and need more time away to do the things they like. Whether it is going on a movie date or taking the day off to play their favourite computer game, what they want more than anything is time.
A teacher’s job is never done once the class is over. There will be papers to be marked, examination questions to be set, lessons to be planned, countless department meetings to attend and extra-curriculum activities to handle. Bottom line is, they spend too much time with your kids and they would really, really like a guilt-free escape where they are not badgered by accountability with parents, bosses, students and work in general.
4. They want to hear from a former student
Your education does not end just by staying in school for a couple of years. What you have learned as a student is bound to influence you till adulthood and beyond. So why not let your teachers know that they have done an amazing job at inspiring you, no matter how small their efforts seem to be at that point in time?
Whether they have spent extra hours after school to guide you, or went the extra mile when your world is falling apart, teachers want to know that they make a difference. It is, most of the time, a thankless job and hearing that you have done well because of them is bound to put smiles on their faces.
PS: Happy Teacher’s Day, Madam Maznah. 🙂