Teachers: I’ll be there for you

I don’t think you realise how much you learn from your teachers, and how much they really are on your side until after you graduate. 

Sure, during my time at WCC I had my fair share of incredible teachers who I knew had my best interests at heart, but I don’t think I could quite comprehend how invested they were in me, and how much they’ve influenced my life until I look back now on the ripple effect of events that have led me to where I am today.  

 My Year 12 English teacher inspired me to love English, and that drove me to start tutoring after I graduated. It’s funny how clearly you can see your own reflection in the faces of stressed HSC students, desperately trying to grasp the complex ideas that I used to struggle with myself. Sometimes I notice little things, like that I recycle the exact phrases that my Year 12 English teacher told me to help me cross those bridges of understanding way back in 2019. Never did I imagine that those words would be stamped so deeply in my memory, and it is a gift that I can use them now to help the next generation of students. And it’s not just Year 12 either – believe it or not, a deceptively unimportant activity I did in Year 8 English is now something I do with my own tutoring students! Your entire schooling journey is valuable in ways that are impossible to foresee; our teachers give us tools to solve the problems that we don’t even know we have yet. 

Even in a less direct sense, our teachers’ lessons have a butterfly effect on our lives. It’s a real shame that we don’t get to properly thank them for all they gave us, because by the time we realise what we have learnt, we’re long out of school. Since I graduated, I have learnt that my drama teachers gave me confidence through their unshakeable belief in me, and that I carry that courage with me every single day. My English teachers taught me that if you open your eyes, there are lessons to be learned everywhere in the world. I’ve learnt that my German teacher set me up to be a global citizen with an appreciation for other cultures, and that she ignited my passion for languages and my desire to go off and learn others. Sometimes it’s not all about the syllabus content! There are so many life skills to learn, and so much personal growth that can happen if you embrace your time as a student. 

When I returned to WCC to be a mentor, I found myself disappointed that so many of my teachers had left the school, and I was surprised at how genuinely excited all my remaining past teachers were to see me. Even writing this now, I smile remembering the expressions on my teachers’ faces when I ran into them in the Branwhite Centre. It amazed me that, even after all these years and after all the new students that have passed through their classrooms, they effortlessly brought up old inside jokes and memories as soon as we started talking. It showed me how invested they really were in me, and for that I am so grateful. 

Take it from me: your teachers really are on your side, and if you allow them to guide you, you are bound to succeed in more ways than just the HSC. After you graduate, you’ll learn a lot of valuable things, and the path that you follow will no doubt be influenced by the teachers you sit in front of today. So, make sure to say thank you to them, even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re thanking them for yet and keep being excited to learn. Perhaps one of the most important things I’ve learnt in my post-WCC life is to never underestimate the power of a good teacher.