When I was in elementary, the first thing I would look at on my report card every grading period was not the grades but the remarks the adviser had written. Fragments of those I could remember very well were the words "silent worker" and "conscientious"--attributes my teacher never failed to see in me. Fired up to excel in studies and zealous to achieve greatly, a sixth grader like me grew a fascination with my mentors whose every word I believed and put to heart. Not only me but everyone in my class felt deep affection and fondness for people we considered as second parents. When a teacher had been admitted to a hospital due to heart ailment, a group of us visited and brought her fruits and flowers. Another teacher was rumored to be on the verge of death and was said to have undergone a major operation for a malignant tumor in her uterus--most girls teared up with the idea she had already died--but after several weeks she showed up in class and we were overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't believe it all happened during my last year in elementary. Even after graduation until now, I could still remember the names and faces of great people who did not only enrich my world by imparting their knowledge but also made an impact to my life through their kind words and generous deeds that inspired me to reach my potentials. Years have passed and I've never heard from my previous mentors again. They might be enjoying their retirement somewhere else, or might be in a better place right now, but one thing's for sure they were immortalized in the heart of every student they have touched.
Not at all times though, we see a "teacher" in a teacher. As I grew older, I came to know the difference between those who just sit and probably wait for the next pay day to come and those who go the extra mile. One of the courses in college I had not really given much attention to was Physical Education, but when we were assigned under this particular teacher--we called her Miss D--my attitude towards the subject matter had changed. The course was mainly about Individual and Team Sports and that included playing bowling, basketball and volleyball. She piqued our interest in those games by being funny, engaging and energetic. Coming to the school amphitheater before 7:30 in the morning twice a week was never a problem because just the thought of meeting a wonderful teacher motivated me not to be tardy--or else I would miss the flexibility exercises and the jog around the basketball court. On the other hand, I had a teacher on Web Technology who would rarely give any lectures and would just let us browse the Internet for the whole three-hour period, and when examination was about to arrive he would give us tons of notes to study which had not been discussed in class. He made his life easy by supposing college was all about self-learning--and he was quite right. Nothing he did, as far I can recall, furthered my education and perhaps I could have decidedly learned all those concepts just by reading W3Schools.com. By being what he was, he exemplified a mere instructor and not a teacher anyone can look up to and emulate, and was remembered because of what he didn't do.
Being a teacher, for me, is the hardest and most challenging profession of all. Teachers give birth to all other professions and religions--the greatest teacher of all is Jesus--and are the ones who have a big influence in our lives. You might have decided to be a doctor because you admired your Science teacher or be an engineer because of a dexterous Math teacher. Our liking to a certain discipline or how our interests and preferences were molded might have been the result of a teacher's commitment and sincerity to his mission of honing the minds of the posterity. As we celebrate the World Teacher's Day on this very day, I wholeheartedly express my appreciation and gratitude to all teachers all over the world who remain steadfast and dedicated to their noble work, and especially to those who helped me find real meaning in life.