Keep My Word


My learning experience: a quality teacher and a respected teacher

Recently, I've restarted learning languages. Maybe that is why I often try to define 'a quality teacher', wondering why quality teachers are not necessarily respected teachers.

When I was still 20 years old, I studied English at a language school in Edinburgh, Scotland. My teacher, Scott was an excellent teacher; every day he prepared different materials and he gave us various group-activities based on his experiences. Although some students liked him a lot, the attendance rate was not that high since the students were too young to be serious.

Especially in winter, the attendance rate dropped; more than half of the class didn't show up. That irritated Scott and one day he exploded. He picked on a student, a sort of underachiever. He asked her to find an answer again and again even though he knew that she couldn't answer.

That lesson got nasty. I said to myself to stay out of it and didn't really participate.

Finally the lesson was over, but Scott asked me to come and said, 'you don't even try to participate. If you don't want to learn English, you should leave this school.'

I was stunned. Then (I was so young and fearless), I brought up what happened in the class. I think I said, 'you shouldn't have been so hard on her just because you're irritated. You knew that she didn't know the answers, but you kept asking.' (At that time, my English was pretty bad, I think I stammered a lot but somehow managed to say something like it.)

Scott looked at me with surprise and said, 'you are right. From tomorrow, I won't do it again, and you too, you will try to participate in the class.'

I respect Scott because he kept his word; he has totally changed. He became friendly always with a smile, unlike his attitude before as a stern teacher. Then, I often saw him invited to a party with students. (I imagine that it was difficult for 40-year-old teacher to join 20-year-old students. He made a great effort.)

Looking at his change, I tried to participate during the class. A week later, Scott talked to me again, 'thank you. You have changed a lot, and thanks to you the class is much better now.'

I think if you want to change someone, you have to change yourself first. If you blame on someone for miscommunication, we can't resolve the problem and it may get worse. It's no use trying to change others.

My age is approaching Scott's age at that time. Now I wonder if I could be humble and flexible like him, maybe I need to change myself a little bit.