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The teacher makes the class

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:05am
It's one of the first things you learn about in university. If you've got a boring, rude, or not-so-very-knowledgeable professor, then good luck with enjoying that class, no matter how interesting the topic might be! Professors have the power to inspire a passion for their subject... or kill a budding interest (which isn't necessarily a bad thing- it can help us come to the conclusion early on that we want to explore a different interest instead).

In my first year of university, I entered it with the full intention of getting my degree in Psychology. I had taken a psychology course in high school which I adored, but my university professor was so dry that I found myself nodding off within the first 10 minutes of that first class. I didn't care enough to really try because I didn't have respect for the professor and consequently did not enjoy the class at all. I decided pretty early on that becoming a psychologist wasn't in the stars for me and I ought to stick with what has been my steady passion since I could hold a pen: writing!

There are other areas of our life besides the education system specifically, however, in which the teacher has some measure of control over your enjoyment and effort level. When I used to go to the YMCA, I would faithfully attend step classes and kickboxing classes almost every day of the week because I grew so fond of my teachers and the classes that they taught. All of the instructors were volunteers so they were there because they wanted to be there (not the case with many university profs, I might add), and this in turn caused their energy and enthusiasm to rub off on the rest of us.

And then we have my beloved boot camp class. The instructor was fantastic. So good, in fact, that I am very happily going to be attending another 4-week session of bootcamp starting on Monday! I think that if I had an instructor who was less friendly and encouraging I would not be so eager to return- especially because I have noticed that when I exercise on my own, its not the high intensity stuff that I immediately start doing. I prefer walking and lifting weights at an easy pace when I'm by myself. So in this case, it really is because of the teacher, I believe, that I love bootcamp as much as I do.

The same goes for lectures and empowering speeches by charismatic and influential people. Years ago, my mother thought that alternative medicine was the most ridiculous unscientific concept imaginable, but she had to go to a seminar all about acupuncture and by the end of the session, she had discovered her passion for alternative medicine and realized just how very scientific it is. And now she owns her own practice that specializes specifically in alternative veterinary medicine! I can't help but wonder if she would have come to this conclusion if the speaker at this seminar had not been enthusiastic, clear, and so informative about their topic.

Have you had a teacher who wound up changing the direction your life went in? If so then make it a special appreciation day and send a quick note to them to thank them for what they did! Appreciation should never go unrecognized- but unfortunately, all too often it does. But just like teachers have the power to change our views on some things, we have the power to give people the recognition and appreciation that they deserve.
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