Teachers as mentors, as role models

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“We not only watch pupils grow, we help them to grow.” Hazel Kellett

Author: Hazel Kellett, Headmistress of Boundary Oak School

Yesterday saw yet another run of great sports fixtures, I am so proud of our pupils who even in this first term of the new school year have grown in so many ways and are full of determination. The atmosphere around school is somewhat buzzing on a Wednesday afternoon and whether they have won or not the support and encouragement that the pupils, their families and staff have for each other as a team, as family is heartwarming.

One parent spoke to me about how that they too had seen a change in their child, more energy, more positivity that it was brilliant, a relief for her to see. She continued to explain how as busy working parents she often feels guilty about not spending enough time with her children – something I’m certain all us working parents feel. She felt that a large part of her child’s growth in confidence and happiness was down to his teachers at school, that they are additional role models for him and an important part of his life.

It reminded me of something I had read recently by an American ‘mom’ who felt very similar to this ( I felt impelled to share my views on the importance of teachers, and in fact all staff within a school as mentors and as role models to your child.

A role model is someone we admire and someone we aspire to be like; a person who inspires and encourages us to strive for greatness, to live to our fullest potential and see the best in ourselves. We learn through them, through their commitment and ability to make us realise our own personal growth while also looking to them for advice and guidance.

Teachers follow their pupils through each key stage of their development. By simply looking at the amount of time spent with them, often 8 hours a day five days a week – more for boarders, then as a teacher we are to become one of the most influential people in your child’s life.

After their parents, grandparents and siblings, children will first learn from their school teacher. As your child grows through the pre-prep and junior years we will continue to guide them and then as they enter the Senior years we will nurture them through yet another important transition: adolescence. As children become young adults, we will answer their questions, listen to their problems and help to teach them about this new phase of their lives. We not only watch pupils grow, we help them to grow.

“We think of teacher-heroes that taught us the academics but we don’t often think of those teachers that taught us life’s lessons.”
Maria Wale, My Teacher My Hero

Much of what pupils learn from the master of teachers is not detailed on a syllabus or a carefully crafted lesson plan. Those teachers help pupils to grow as people and are responsible for imparting some of life’s most important lessons. We show our pupils how to become independent and form their own relationships, their first friendships; we carefully guide them and intervene when necessary. School is as much a place of social learning as academic learning, and this is true, not only in our early years of education, but all the way through Senior Prep and beyond.

“A teacher is a beacon of light that acts as a lighthouse to guide the stranded students in the sea of life”
APJ Abdul Kalam

It is easy to assume, in our media-driven society, that your child’s most influential role model is their favourite entertainment figure, musician, actor or athlete but according to a survey by the Horatio Alger Association more than 75 percent of children say family members, family friends, teachers, coaches and community leaders are their role models.

Teachers ooze experience and have already been where your child is going, been through what they will go through and are in a position to pass on these valuable lessons, not only in education but lessons on life.




To My Son’s Soccer Coach

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