Ben Thomas - Grade 9, Centerville High School
The Day I Became a Teacher
Albert Einstein once said, â€œIt is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.â€ Iâ€™d heard this quote before becoming a mentor, but I could never really grasp the truth of it until I experienced my studentâ€™s joy for myself. This year, I enrolled in the honors option of my high schoolâ€™s band program, and one of its main requirements is passing on your knowledge to a younger band student. The day of the first lesson, I was really nervous. What would he be like? Would he be any good at trombone? Would I even be able to teach him anything at all? When Connor, my â€œmenteeâ€, walked into my house, I could instantly tell that he was just as nervous as me. When I saw him sit down, nervously clutching his little trombone, I felt a huge responsibility on my shoulders. What I did with this kid could shape the rest of his band career! It was then that I resolved to be the best mentor to him that I could be.
During the lesson, I saw Connor open up and show me the pure, unadulterated joy of a child who has discovered a passion. Somehow, I actually managed to be patient, kind, and encouraging to him throughout the session, and I think it really paid off. In just thirty minutes, I helped Connor to improve the smoothness of his tone by probably fifty percent! I found that I even became a little nostalgic, as this took me back to my first private lesson all those years ago. I vividly remembered my first teacherâ€™s inspirational speech about working hard to achieve a goal, and how I was filled to the brim with hope and confidence after it. I have never felt so gratified in my entire life as when I saw the shock and pleasure on Connorâ€™s face when he realized that he was getting so much better and catching up to his peers. The feeling was utterly indescribable!
After the lesson, I actually felt as though I had made a difference in his life, and that was one of the times Iâ€™ve felt truly important and influential in a situation with someone. As a result of my mentoring Connor, I became aware of the fact that I have the potential to be encouraging, tolerant, and even enthusiastic. Iâ€™ve historically never been very exemplary of any of those qualities, most notably the latter, but thereâ€™s nothing like seeing a child happy to bring out the best in someone. That day, I learned that I can actually be a positive influence on someoneâ€™s life, and let me tell you, there is no better feeling in the world. Iâ€™ll end with another quote - â€œThe mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.â€ - William Arthur Ward.