Welcome back to our regular feature offering advice to students on aspects of family/friend/personal relationships. In the hot-seat is Rosie, a current 6th former at Kesgrave High School and a founder member of the Student Life steering group.
Teachers; they’re just our teachers, right? Their job is to teach us about things we haven’t the slightest clue about, educate us on how to apply our new found knowledge in an exam, then send us on our way. But is that really all teachers are to us?
If you are currently doing GCSEs or lower, it is likely that your teachers change every year, term, or in the case of subjects like science, with every topic! In these cases, it is likely that a teacher is very much just this. However, for our A Level teachers, Head of Year, and our form tutors, in lower school especially, our relationship with teachers is much more than just pupil-teachers.
We all remember the days of lower school when something would upset us, a friend would tell you “Oh go on, just tell a teacher,” and it was quite possibly the most unappealing thought ever. After all, when we have our mates to gossip and natter with, why would we want to tell some bossy adult about our troubles?
Many of us take for granted what our teachers can be for us. They don’t just teach you, they care for your wellbeing, want you to do well, emotionally and in terms of your life, not just academically. This is most common with form tutors, the one teacher who between year 7 and year 11 is the only constant. They meet you every morning in form time, and watch you grow across the duration of five years, and believe me, they grow to become someone you trust and look to for support.
Often, we are very shut off about confiding in teachers, and don’t see it as something we want to do, as instead we opt to tell our mates about all our worries. However, and I truly stand by this, if you want a truthful, honest opinion – go to a teacher. You don’t have to go into all the details of your personal troubles, but I guarantee they will listen and understand whatever you do tell them. Don’t get me wrong, your mates are likely to be loyal and supportive, however because they are loyal to you, their opinions on how to handle situations may have you too much in their best interests, leading to biased, unconstructive advice that will only makes things worse. However, your form tutor or head of year is someone who has, from somewhat of a distance, watched how you have grown and matured over the years, without being in the know of all the subjective matters that come with it. Their best interest is purely in your wellbeing; it won’t be revengeful against whoever was gossiping about you, it won’t be one that agrees about how evil your parents have been, and it won’t be one that agrees you should totally make your ex jealous. They will give you the honesty and insight that you truly need.
Of course, I know there will be some form tutors and teachers who may not be as successful as others at supporting you like that, but often if you are willing to open up to them and trust them as your mentor, they will openly accept this and try their hardest to support you. I myself was truly BLESSED in terms of my form tutor and Head of Year both in lower school and sixth form. During my first few weeks of year 7, sure my HOY and form tutor were funny and kind, but I really took for granted who they were; to me, they were just a teacher. However, when it really came down to the hard stuff, and my friends didn’t have my back like I expected and hoped for them to, my form tutor was the one main person that did. After that, I felt comfortable telling them anything that was on my mind, and they often became my top choice of guidance over my friends, because I knew I would get an honest response.
This little speech isn’t one against friendship; I know your friends are kind, they are supportive, and they adore you. What this is supposed to be is a call to you, for when it feels like there is no one on your side; that person seems to never run out of homework tasks for you, witters on for hours in the classroom, and overtly rolls their eyes when you are seconds late to class is there for you. Seriously people, don’t ever take your teachers for granted, especially those angelic sorts who stay with you throughout your whole high school and sixth form journey!