English Teachers Make or Break Your College Career

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English Teachers Make or Break Your College Career

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Alessia Bicknese, Opinion Editor

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Think back to your high school career. If you’re a senior now, that may seem like centuries ago. But think of the one teacher in high school whose class you looked forward to the most. Was it your English teacher?

Even though you hated the thought of reading “The Catcher in the Rye,” your English teacher sat there, at the front of your classroom, and read the book aloud to 18-year-old students. Now think about the teacher who had you independently read, but you preferred sneaking your Blackberry between your thumbs and dingy, coffee stained, 30-year-old library book to communicate with your friends in the same room. At the time, you didn’t appreciate the teacher who read aloud, but now that you think about it, don’t you?

An English teacher will make or break your high school career. If you’re lucky, you end up with an English teacher that considers your feelings, appreciates your opinions, and understands your level of learning. If you can’t relate to the teacher who “makes” your high school career, then I’m afraid you are a portion of the 2% population that had an English teacher that made your stomach churn. Those English teachers are apparently out there.

It’s the patient teacher that doesn’t move forward with the class until every single person is on the same page. The one that sets time aside for you when you seem to be falling behind. The teacher that is always sure to establish a connection with each student. The one who forgives you for not successfully completing your assignment, and allows you to stay in for lunch to get it done. Imagine having that kind of flexibility and understanding now?

To put things into perspective, think back to your average school day a few years ago. Drag yourself to earth science, sigh your way to math, smile a little on the way to history – because you know English is next. So, you make your way to English, and you’re willing to participate in class conversation, not because you love the text, or because you find the blue curtains in the novel to be a fascinating use of symbolism. You participate whole-heartedly because your teacher has taken the extra step for you, so do the same for him/her. You now do not want to let this teacher down. Because of your English teacher, you decide for yourself that school is not as terrible as you thought.

Your English teacher tells stories — not only relating to the text, but relating to themselves. They go out of their way to form a bond with their students, and to make sure there are a few laughs along the way. English class can be boring. When you think about it, you’re reading books anywhere from 20-hundreds of years ago. After that, you have to write essays on the text, interpret the text, discuss the text, and understand the text. Think about the incredible mentality your English teacher must have for achieving all of said factors, and still being your favorite teacher.

An English teacher has to be understanding, open to conversation, kind, creative, and interactive. One cannot simply hand a student a book, and direct them to read it without given the proper direction or understanding of what the book boils down to. An English teacher does not teach the principles of literature because he/she believes they will be important factors in life. An English teacher teaches English because he/she is passionate about the beauty of words. They want to introduce the youth to the inspiring, historical, ever evolving ways of literature. And hopefully, somewhere along the way, one lucky student will be inspired by their English teacher.