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A farewell to high school

Posted: May 26, 2011 2:23 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2011 5:00 a.m.

As my senior year draws to a close, I’ve come to the realization that no matter where you go, you will always have someone in a position of authority over you. Being a student for 12 years means that I have been under the authority of many teachers- some wonderful and some not quite so.

But I have learned a few things from all those years.

No. 1: People in positions of authority shouldn’t have to intimidate those under them to get results. It’s pretty sad when a class is afraid to ask a teacher something, because the last person who asked a legitimate question got rudely cut down in a snappy response from the teacher.

No. 2:  Please do not make us feel stupid because we do not understand something. That is why we are here: to learn. Of course the content of the subject is simple to you -- you’ve been teaching it for longer than we have been alive. Is it not your job to teach us? That’s why we took the class; if we already understood the content we wouldn’t need to learn it.

No. 3: Just because we are students doesn’t entitle you to take out you frustrations of a bad day on us. It’s definitely true that a lot of students don’t give respect and in turn don’t deserve it, but for those students who were taught to respect those in authority over them, they do deserve respect in turn. When we are having a bad day, we don’t yell at you when you make a simple mistake.

No. 4:  Remember that you were once a teenager too; understand how we feel and realize that our life isn’t only about your class, your papers, your homework. The last time I talked to a college professor he told me that if someone came to college just to focus on academics that they would never survive, that you must involve yourself in sports or clubs or something.

No. 5: Do not think you are always right. A position of authority doesn’t come with all-knowing wisdom and knowledge. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes- it takes more strength of character to admit you are wrong than to insist you are always right.

No. 6: Refrain from trying to scare us about college. Don’t continually tell us that professors care nothing about us and that they want us to fail out of college.

As teachers, you have a great realm of influence over your students; it’s your choice whether that influence is beneficial or destructive to their growth as individuals and learners. This world needs teachers who love and care for their students; teachers who understand and sympathize; teachers who comprehend their impact as authority. I just want to thank those teachers who understand the points mentioned above and how much impact they can have on a student. Thank you for pouring into my life, for helping me to enjoy learning and to accomplish what has been set before me.

(Christina Stokes is a contributing columnist for the C-I from Camden High School and can be reached at columnist@ci-camden.com)

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