An ode to English teachers

Teachers can make or break us. Strangely, in the case of English teachers, they mostly seem to do us. In addition to their inherent ability to tell stories, they possess the qualities of a parent figure and can create a bond with students that lasts beyond the classroom. Having a trusted adult in the form of a teacher can be crucial for many students, especially those who are struggling growing up.

Looking back on my school days, I was blessed with amazing teachers in all subjects, but interestingly, those I continue to teach to this day are all language teachers or of English literature.

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In college, my teacher introduced me to Mitch Albom’s The five people you meet in heaven and it has become one of my favorite books. With her amusing anecdotes, she instilled in me a love for analyzing literary texts and laid the foundation for my writing skills. My 8th grade teacher showed me how to be independent at a time when my friends neglected me and I was the lonely child. The teacher during my O level years was nothing short of a mother figure and I still go to her for advice to this day. My English tutor was like a big sister to me, and she went beyond the confines of the quiz to tackle writing about the world in general.

So, if ever a match was made in heaven, it would be an English teacher and an aspiring writer in the classroom. When I asked my fellow SHOUT writers if their teacher had an impact on their writing career, the number of responses was overwhelming to say the least.

“I remember my favorite English literature teacher in 8th grade teaching us the value of ‘creative freedom’. The way she relentlessly brought great positive energy to the class made me look forward to her classes. “recalls Ayra Areeba Abid.

Another writer, Inqiad Bin Ali, spoke of the mentorship he received from his teacher. “Our talks weren’t just focused on our classes. We were talking about practically everything in life, from current events to sports to morals. They broadened my horizons and made me think more deeply about my surroundings , while enriching my vocabulary and grammar. It sounds cliché, but without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Several others commented on how essential the teaching style and encouragement of their teachers was in shaping their love of literature and perfecting their calligraphy. For some, their choice of major was defined with the help of their professors or English teachers.

“With my bad CGPA in economics and just a minor in English, I didn’t think I would get into any good programs, but he almost pushed me to apply to Columbia [University] and I got in, so I’ll always be grateful for that,” said Sarah Bari, editor of Daily Star Books.

This further reinforces the importance of a teacher’s dedication to enriching young minds and not just completing the curriculum.

Maybe English teachers are made of sugar, spice and all that good stuff, or maybe they were just born for their role. Either way, we can all unanimously agree that they have had significant impacts in our lives and we owe them a lot of appreciation!

Mashiyat has dissociated too much and is now stuck on Neverland. Tell him to grow up at mashiyat.nayeem@gmail.com