Top 6 Teachers Who Made an Impact on My Life

Our job is to teach the students we have. Not the ones we would like to have. Not the ones we used to have. Those we have right now. All of them. – Dr. Kevin Maxwell

In celebration of Teacher’s Day, I want to celebrate teachers who hear, understand, inspire and believe in their students. You do not go unnoticed for the mark you have made in many young lives and students around the world will forever be grateful to you.

In this post, I want to highlight the five teachers who made an impact on my life and taught me many great things and not just about the subjects they taught but crucial life lessons too.

 For the purposes of privacy, I have altered the names of my teachers.

  1. To Ms Begum Who Always Believed in Me and Stood Up for Me

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Ms Begum was one of several teachers at our Islamic School. I was the top student there and one of the top students in primary school too. But my reserve and quiet nature resulted in me often being overlooked. Heck, I used to walk out of classes sometimes at my primary school and get away with it, that’s how little they noticed me. But not Ms Begum. Ms Begum was my champion, my advocate. She once gave me extra dessert for my good work which made me feel incredibly special considering she was quite the disciplined and stern teacher.

One day, I was contrary. I got into a tumultuous row with another teacher at Islamic School who was also Ms Begum’s mother. I cannot remember what started it, but I know what heated it – I was called a “street kid.” Granted, I didn’t argue like a “sophisticated, young lady” – I was both crying and yelling – , and, of course, I didn’t argue like one either. Because I wasn’t one, and neither were the other students. We were from the heart of the East End, not the West End of London. Naturally, I was kicked out. However, behind the scenes, Ms Begum fought to turn that permanent expulsion into a temporary suspension. Eventually, I was back at Islamic School, performed very well and fell in love with my religion.

Thank you, Ms Begum, for being the first ever teacher to acknowledge me, like me, believe in me, and stand up for me. And thank you for teaching me to stand up to those I love for what and who I believe in.

  1. To Mr Dudley Who Taught Me to Keep Going and Stay True to Myself

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I was getting bullied. I was getting called a lesbian due to the closeness I shared with my then best friend. I was considered weird. I was weird. I am weird. And Mr Dudley still believed that I was great and that I should keep going and be who I am and not change that. That made me realise that not everybody in life is going to like you and sometimes they won’t like you for inexplicable reasons, but you cannot let them dim your shine. Illegitimi non carborundum. Let the freak flag fly because you will never feel satisfied pretending to be someone else. True happiness is found when you accept and love who you are for all your flawesome qualities and then the tribe comes, the right tribe, the tribe that was tailor-made for you.

Thank you, Mr Dudley, for imparting this valuable lesson and clapping fantastically loudly, nodding your head in appreciation for my tone-deaf – but confidently done – singing.

  1. To Mr O’Hara Who Made Me Fall in Love with History

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You taught with passion, you taught with endless encouragement and you talked at length too. You made history an adventure, a time travel to grief-stricken eras, iconic moments and revolutionary movements. To this day, I browse the history section in bookstores with excitement, eager to learn and eager to revisit history. It was a sad day when you retired, and we both cried. My then best friend and I wrote a card for you and you told us that you expected great things from both of us.

Thank you, Mr O’Hara for teaching me that learning can be fun, thank you for making History my all-time favourite subject and thank you for planting the belief that I’m capable of striving for and achieving the great things in life.

  1. To Ms Brown for Checking Up on Me When Nobody Else Did

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I woke up one day after having to revisit a traumatic incident and I was there but I was not there, do you know what I mean? I wasn’t off the grid, but my mind was. It had entered a dark place, a place where I only held the key to. No one knew about the door, and when they glimpsed the door, they forgot about it immediately afterwards. I was there for a long while, slumped in the corner, and no light could enter. I tried once, and it had settled along the lines of Albert Camus’s The Stranger. That’s it – I was a stranger. I had become a stranger to everyone around me, to my loved ones and nobody ever questioned it. Nobody looked behind the façade. But you did. Without hesitation. Some called you aloof, distant, disciplined and reserved, and I said that if there’s anything I learnt from the first teacher that made an impact on me, it is that the best people usually do not make a fuss about kindness… they just are.

Thank you, Ms Brown, for pulling me out of my slump, thank you for noticing and thank you for checking up on me when nobody else did or cared to. You reminded me that I do matter.

  1. To Deepika Padukone For Speaking Up and Inspiring Me to Reach Out

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    Credit: bollywoodlife.com

No, Deepika Padukone is not a teacher but she taught me the most pivotal things that I needed to know about mental health. See, I was one of the ones who thought that depression just meant somebody who was sad, that anxiety was just nerves and that lack of knowledge cost me a lot. I didn’t know what I was going through and had gone through for a long while until Deepika Padukone had the courage to speak up about her experience with depression on national televisi. I wept endlessly watching Deepika talk about how she was struggling to get out bed, the fatigue, the panic, the numbness, and the façade. The façade hurt the most. Pretending to be okay hurt the most. She spoke about therapy and reaching out to her loved ones. And, finally, I realised that I was not alone. That others go through this too. And it’s about time that we put an end to staying quiet about something as important as mental health when 1 in 4 people in the UK experience.

Thank you, Deepika, for your strength and courage in speaking up about depression. At that time, you were the country’s most sought-after actress and understood that it could affect your career. But you dismissed this and instead broke taboo, challenged the stigma and fought on behalf of us. Thanks to you, I undertook therapy sessions for depression and anxiety and this year, I haven’t experienced a panic attack, I am happy, I find that I have returned to myself, I do not stay down for long, I reach out and that’s because therapy has helped me to understand and learn essential coping mechanisms. I cannot express enough how much I am thankful towards you.

  1. To My Grandmother for Teaching Me the Biggest Lesson – the Importance of Love

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I always knew there was something missing in my life. Something that made me feel like an alien amongst people, something that wasn’t right and something that was off… until I met you. They say there is no such thing as love at first sight, but I knew and met love the day I met you. I knew love because you were love.

I recognised a kindred spirit. Though I was shy and reticent, and you were gregarious, we shared the same adventurous and rebellious spirit. I was the shy extrovert and you were the outlandish, life-of-the-party extravert. Contrary to expectations, you weren’t the most affectionate, but you showed your love through your actions. You made sure I was fed, that I was brought gifts, you teased me for my westernised Bengali accent and your eyes and smile never failed to shower love on me. There was always genuine and unmistakable warmth wherever you were.

When you passed away, I thought I would never find love again. Weirdly, I did find love and friendship by bonding over the loss of grandmothers. Strange that, right?

After I pray for my sins to be forgiven, you are the first person I pray for and you are the person I want to see in heaven.

Thank you for teaching me love, thank you for loving me and thank you for being my favourite person in the entire world even long after you were gone. I always miss you.


Which teachers made an impact on you and how? Share your story in the comments section below.

Sophia Ismaa

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22 Comments

  1. Teachers. I’ve had terrible teachers but I’ve also had some incredibly amazing ones. The ones who make a bit of effort for their students are always the best.
    My pre-k teacher. Lovely woman. The first person to make me feel comfortable being introverted and tried to convince my mom that there was nothing wrong with me. My 7th grade history teacher. His passion for Ancient Rome sparked a fire inside me. I became obsessed with the subject because of him and is one of the reasons why I ended up studying abroad in Italy. My high school educational advisor. Simply the greatest. Encouraged me in all of my endeavors. I will always credit him with getting me into a decent university. And he still checks up on me to this day! Forever grateful to have him in my life. And of course my big sister. She’s my second momma. We’re not close (not by a long shot haha) but she is always taking care of me and checking in to make sure I’m okay. When I need help, or I have exciting news to share, she’s the first family member I call ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, terrible teachers really questioned my belief in whether authority figures were really cut out for it and just.. gosh when they’re bad, they really questioned my belief in humanity but thank God for the good teachers. When it’s done right, the education system really empowers its students.

      Nothing makes anyone fall in love with history more than history teachers. Who can really hate History? It’s like reading stories but in spoken form and it’s real… truly wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a super sweet post! Teachers in the United States are underpaid and often underappreciated, but they pour so much of their time and money into what they do. I was always a good student, but my 5th grade teacher stood up in front of the class every day and basically performed a comedy routine as he taught! It held my attention, made me love his teaching methods, and I got straight A’s for the first time that year!

    I’m so happy you were impacted by 6 teachers! Look at them, doling out life lessons!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate you saying that! 🤗

      I don’t know how it compares to the UK though I do feel teachers overall across the globe are just not as appreciated and valued enough so I can see why some might even lose their motivation and passion. We’ve ingrained this “those who can’t do, teach” mentality which is stupid because every job is important and you literally cannot do much if you’re not educated to high school level and you can’t do that without teachers so it’s a ridiculous line of thinking. 🤕

      I don’t think I’ve ever had that (except for that one time my primary school teacher performed with his guitar) but what a wonderful and fun method. Probably something that will boost everyone’s mood… hmm, I think this should be done more! And congrats on the straight A’s, ya genius. 😉

      Teachers really be teaching us the most. 🙂❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww, grandma! I’m glad your grandma was such a good influence, and I’m also glad you can count her amongst what looks like a fantastic group of teachers!

    *also, I love your Britishisms. “tumultuous row” is simply something most Americans wouldn’t think of to say!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is wonderful post. My education was a bit of a challenge for me and my teachers. The positive experiences were few and far between. As a dyslexic in the 70s and 80s most teachers didn’t know how to teach me. I even had a 3rd grade teacher who punished me for being left handed. (Which made the ink smear on my paperwork)
    But there was teachers who went above and beyond to give me a chance to succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.
      There is a film on dyslexia in Bollywood called Taare Zameen Par where this young boy (student) has dyslexia. Really broke my heart. My aunt has it too but now she’s excellent at reading and writing. Improvement can be made when each student has the right teacher and really puts an effort in which can take time but when found, the results are heartwarming.

      Like

      1. I was always a good reader. But the type of dyslexia I had effected output. I underwent hours and hours of testing. I remember seeing my file one time and it was 3 inches thick in middle school. I was always open about what it’s like to have a learning disability to the point where I was giving round table discussions with college professors and teaching them how to educate dyslexic students.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s something that I feel pretty strongly about. ( being open about what it’s like. ) I’ve seen several people blog about learning disabilities but few of them can do so from the perspective of a person who actually came through it. I have considered attempting to do so myself but it’s not really the theme of my blog. Like so many things it would have to be a bonus post and I could only do it right on a day when I have no other obligations.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful! 💖💖😊 and the fact that you mentioned your teachers and your grandmother is truly great! It’s always amazing when you thank people for what they did!

    I think up till this day my Arabic School Y5 & 6 teacher had to be my favourite teacher of all time! I thank her for being able to show me how important it is to care for people even if they are horrible to you! She also taught me how to laugh off embarrassment and hatred and replace them with comfort and love but the best lesson of all was when she taught me that no matter what don’t be taken advantage of and to not let anyone try to. 💕💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, what a beautiful comment and thank you, you’re so lovely to say that and I really appreciate your words… They taught me so much, and shaped me into who I am today ❤️❤️❤️

      I love that you chose an Arabic teacher. 😊 Those are some really wonderful and crucial lessons that she taught you, and I’m so heartened to hear that she told you to not allow yourself to be taken advantage or even allow anyone the opportunity to. I mean would Aisha (RA)? Who was saying we are oppressed? Lol. We have some amazing role models, don’t we? 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We do! I have come across some amazing women in my life! ❤️ I had one teacher in paticular who had an ill husband and children to take care of, and she came into school everyday happy to be there and made the lessons the best they can be! 🙂 Thank you for writing this amazing post! Every teacher that we have ever had adds a bit into our character! Even the horrible ones (I know I can’t believe it either 😂)💜❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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