Born and bred a British, Shamima, 15, is all about creativity and self-expression. She wishes to pursue a career in Medicine and pursue her interests in poetry, fashion, writing and maybe in the distant future, property development.
I arrived at my high school a child and in a mere five months I will leave a young adult equipped with fine, fierce determination, ambition and inspiration. I feel privileged to bear such parcel of gifs – five years was what it took to acquire and the rest of my life is the duration it will remain significant to me – owing to the best of teachers, three significant mentors who, like cement and bricks, pieced me together, the person who will come to face the wider world in a only five months.
Before I go on to introduce my mentors, allow me to lay the grounds of my schooling for the sake of understanding.
I go to a private school. It is housed in a small crumbling ex-factory, boasts little resources and survives on student fees – highly depreciated and is constantly attacked by the local council. Yet students and teachers have made the most of it. Although the school failed most areas of inspection (mostly concerning the building), we were graded ‘Excellent’ for two things: results and student/teachers relationship. As you can see the students and the teachers are the pillars that prop the school p, we’re still fighting and still surviving.
When parents talk of the school they frown at the building, frown at the disorganization, frown at all the weakness yet I could never share their opinion. As I mentioned earlier, I feel no less than privileged because I know that I could never have had better teachers than those I have now. My classmates and my teachers are to me my second family.
My science teacher is the teacher I feel I can relate the most to; she comes from the same background, is a doctor and has a teenager of her own. Most students regard her as their second mother. We are all very familiar with the important aspects of her life, told through a high-school-life worth of funny, deep, moving stories; somehow she always has one relevant to and nicely complimenting the topic of discussion. We constantly find ourselves wondering how one person can have such a full and exciting life, she says it’s because she’s old (hardly) and that when we too are at her age, we’d have our own interesting tales to tell.
But among the amusing memories, there were/are occasions where life treated her unjustly, times where she’d struggled with all her might, times that tested her patience and her endurance – and yet she smiles. She uses these stories to outline firm lessons for all of us, an opportunity to bestow wisdom upon us, wishing none of us ever come to find ourselves in similar situations.
One thing she fondly comments about our class is that we’re so unpredictable, that we have so many different weird and wonderful characters, all very unique yet we all sort of fit together; you can’t really say that about any other class!
Lessons I learnt from her:
§ To smile in the face of adversity
§ To always do the right thing
§ To be independent
§ To be a pleasant person though and through
§ To appreciate what God has given me
§ To stand firm in my faith and my dreams
§ To be the one to ‘give’
§ To make decisions wisely
When I first met my math teacher in Year 7, new and full of mischief, she had me quivering at my knees from the very first lesson, which she used to outline her guidelines that she expected every one of us to follow. She worked us hard and took no nonsense from us (not that we ever dared to give her nonsense), accepting no less than the best and always pushing us. Now in Year 11 I can confidently identify that initial ‘fear’ as utmost respect, respect she fully deserves. Around her students would always watch their posture, watch their speech; watch their manners and most importantly watch their studies.
But she’s lovely you know, we have our laughs and jokes but never cross the threshold (almost never); when we do we know that we’re fully accountable for our mistakes. Deep down (she’s not a person who exposes her feeling very often) there’s sincere tenderness and love, desire for us all to go out there and make something of ourselves and to be the best we can.
I came to high school with average grades in Math and now I’m hitting top marks, students once with D’s and E’s are now A grade students and the rudest of students are now – well – they know who they owe their respect to. Unlike most teenagers, I regard obedience and discipline as an attribute significant to my character and vital in keeping order. It makes me wonder how different the school would be without her.
Lesson I learnt from her:
§ To face life with pure and utter determination
§ To reach far beyond the stars
§ To stand for what I believe
§ To excel my own expectations
§ To have faith in myself
§ To live no regards
§ The importance of having a refined character
As for my English teacher, typically she’d be the teacher we can all lay back around, a teacher who’s more of a friend to us and is hopeless with computers (that’s were we come to the rescue), a teacher students phone up in the holidays just to have a chat, we’ve set up a Facebook for her, send her numerous silly messages to which she still hasn’t figures out how to reply to.
She’s a lot like us, very open and amusingly gossipy. She’s openly admits ‘slipping’ our names into discussions in the staff room and you can count on her to be just right round the corner to witness us being told off. Her jokes are not funny but the slip-ups she makes in telling them are hilarious. She’s always encouraging to keep working when we complain about our workload with her usual ‘work hard girls, work hard, just x more months to go’. Talk about nostalgia. We’re always being told how dearly we’ll be missed by all the teachers ‘I’ll miss getting you all into trouble, all our jokes, remember when…’ We started at the same year as her, starting together, all of us new, and so she declares, she’ll be the one to miss us most.
Lessons I learnt from her:
§ To laugh at my own mistakes
§ To worry little, live a lot
§ To be myself, however goofy
§ Friendship other than student-student relationship
§ To use new and unfamiliar words
– so people think I’m smart, apparently
§ To have a good sense of humor, be happy and be me
So what makes a good teacher?
For me – a teacher who can teach me things more valuable than the national curriculum, a teacher who doubles up as a mother, a personal trainer or a friend, a teacher who regards my struggles as their struggles and a teacher who I can honestly say, love me. It is so important that teachers get to know students and that students get to know teachers – relationships are two way after all. It is also important that students can trust their teachers, trust their judgment and their decisions.
With the example of my school, what I’m trying to portray is that recourses, facilities and recognition is not what makes a school successful (as a school and not as a business as some people regard them), it’s the student-teacher relationship that is the most vital aspect.
Frog or Prince? The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends.
By Kaycee Jane
“A prince is a metaphor for a healthy relationship, a frog is the opposite. When we know better like what to expect from a relationship—what needs we deserve and how we deserve to be treated—we’ll all make better choices.”
Our teen reviewers LOVED this book at Radical Parenting, we highly suggest you buy it for the teen or tween girl in your life!