The Three Things I Wish My Teachers Told Me
Teachers play an essential role in all of our lives and have the power to change our course. Find out the three things I believe they should have told me.
As students, we go through a lot between the ages of 13–18. For many of us, we are wrestling with new struggles in life and the pressure of our studies. Although I would like to hope my teachers understood what I was going through, they often seemed blind to it.
Teenagers go through finding their identity, looking for approval romantically and planning their future. These are three things that could take a lifetime to do but are subjects that are awakened in us over a short period.
When I look back at my teenage self, I have to admit I was a lost soul. I had no direction in my personal life, and all my teachers seemed to care about was the grades I was bringing to the table.
Some of my most influential teachers took time out to acknowledge I was worth more than my final exam. I was still in a stage of growth, just like everyone is in their teen years. There is still much learning to do outside the classroom that my teachers could have helped me with.
Considering I spent most of my day with them, I always felt that some of my teachers could have done more. That is not to take away from the job of my parents, but students do seek guidance from their teachers too.
Of course, no one should hold our hands through life. We must learn through experience too. If not, life would not be worth living. However, I do think there are some things my teachers could have said to me that would have made my path a little smoother.
My Circumstances Do Not Define Me
As a child coming from an underprivileged background, it was easy to get thrown into stereotypes. All of my friends were from similar broken homes, and all of them badly behaved in school.
Both my mindset and me were poor, and I did not have any direction in life. Unlike the other children, my parents did not have spectacular jobs I could aspire to. Not to mention, my mother was the only constant parent in my life, so she was working 2–3 jobs just to make ends meet.
I lived in a rough area, and never had the privilege of having someone to help me with career advice. My mother did try her best, but she never had the opportunity to build her career due to having me at a young age.
Everything about my circumstances was telling me I was worth nothing. Due to this, I went to school most days thinking there was no future for me. After all, even if I got good grades, I believed people like me never amounted to anything. Plus, some of my teachers had already told me this indirectly.
It was not until I landed my first corporate job, I realised that my circumstances did not make me. In fact, my circumstances had very little to do with the person I wanted to become. That was all left up to me.
Yes, my environment has the power to make me feel upset or misfortunate. Yet still, my response to those circumstances was in my control. I thank many of my teachers for all they did, but this is a message I needed to hear at 13.
That is not to say I have any regrets, and I did get there in the end. But I would have changed the course of my life and restored hope to my mother much sooner. All a teacher had to do was sit me down and let me know that I can be better than the things happening around me.
Think About Death Regularly
Now I know that this sounds a bit crazy. Why would you tell someone who has the rest of their life to live to think about death regularly? After all, that is something hardly anyone thinks about. But that is the problem!
A lot of young people, including myself, treat time as a toy. Due to our young age, we believe we have all the time in the world. And although there is some truth to that, we must also counter it with time is precious.
Unfortunately, many of us will never know how much we should have appreciated something until it is gone. It is human nature to take for granted the things we have in the present. It is only when we look back, we realise how much it meant to us.
It is the same with life. There is no surprise that those who have near-death experiences choose to live their life in a completely different way. They begin to live it to the fullest and appreciate every moment they have on this Earth.
Thankfully, that is not the only way to appreciate life. To live life with purpose and direction is another way we can demonstrate the value we have for our lives. As a young man growing up, I only found this when I learned that my first job was not the answer to my fulfilment.
At that moment, life felt like a blur. It was almost like all my efforts were wasted, and my life had been undervalued up to this point. And it was not undervalued by anyone but me.
When we think about death regularly, we begin acting with purpose. We understand that our wonderful experience of life will one day come to end. Therefore, what we do in the present now becomes so much more important.
If a teacher brought the reality of death to me at a young age, I think the course of my life would have changed. My actions would not be so wasteful, and I would not have spent so much time living selfishly.
Morality Makes Us Worthy of Happiness
Recently, I came across this quote by Immanuel Kant. Kant believed that:
“Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.”
Now at the age of 13, I do not wish that my teachers told me that. I would have never understood what they meant. However, I do believe that my teachers could have taught me the principle of it.
As a badly behaved student, I often thought that being disciplined led to an easier life. After all, the good students never got shouted out and always got better grades. But since I did not believe I could attain that, I continued in my ways.
It is only now I realise that I was a badly behaved child because I was seeking happiness in the wrong way. I wanted attention because I rarely got it from home. I wanted to be important and feel as though people genuinely cared.
Thanks to being the class clown, I gained much popularity and esteem. However, I never achieved the happiness I sought. Deep down, I wished I could be like the good students who seemed so pleased with their lives.
My problem was not that I was not happy. It was that I did not believe I was worthy of it. Every day I would cause my teachers hassle and make other students lives a pain. Yes, I laughed and had fun, but it never felt right because I knew I was undeserving of any good thing.
If my teachers taught me that they do not teach me to be good for their own sake but for my own, I would have changed my course. My teachers would often make me feel bad by saying other students want to learn and you are disrupting them. They would sometimes say that you are making my day difficult.
I think the closest they got was by telling me I would fail my exams if I continued. Unfortunately, I believed I was going to do that anyway, so that did not help.
If they let me know that my happiness and life satisfaction counted on my morality, my life choices would have changed drastically.
It would be interesting to hear some of the things you wished your teachers told you. Leave a comment to let me know.
Teachers play a vital role in all of our lives, and although there are some things they missed, I am happy to say there are some they did not. So keep your eyes open for the next article on some of the life-changing things some of my teachers told me.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.