Teachers who inspire

By the time you graduate, you will have gone through 35-40 different professors. Most of their names you will forget. Sure, you’ll remember what grade you received, and you may even remember if the class was easy or difficult, but when it comes to the professors, you’re not going to remember who they were.

That’s the nature of college. The kinship that existed between students and teachers in high school is replaced with unfamiliarity and disconnection. The time spent in class is short and the office hours are even shorter. There’s no time for one-on-one interaction. There’s just enough time to dart across campus and get to your next class.

There’s a reason teachers have to write their names on the boards before evaluations at the end of the semester. It’s in case you didn’t know it.

And it’s not the teachers’ fault. With so many classes and so much material crammed into a semester, are you really concerned with getting to know your professors? Or are you more focused on preparing for exams, balancing your school and social life, and trying not to get overwhelmed in the process? College professors aren’t here for guidance; they’re here to teach the material and assess your understanding of the subject. To most professors, you’re just another name on a Scantron sheet

But every so often, you encounter a few teachers who make a difference. Teachers who pull you aside and compliment you on your recent test score; teachers who somehow, know your name before learning anyone else’s; teachers who seem genuinely interested and caring, and want nothing more than to see you succeed. These are the teachers who go above and beyond their primary role as instructors, and serve as mentors and inspirers.

These are the teachers who end up changing your life.

Over my college career, I encountered six of these professors. Six professors whose names I will never forget. One teacher, during my sophomore year, took me under his wing and showed me there’s more to college than chasing after girls and drinking beer. Another teacher, more recently, convinced me I had the talent to pursue a career I had long since given up on.

It is these teachers I am forever indebted to. As I come closer to the end of my college career, my appreciation for these six people accumulates more and more. I want to shout their highest praises and adoration over the roofs of the world. I want to walk in unannounced through their office doors and express my gratitude. I want to tell each of them how their impact has changed my life forever.

Only one thing stops me. One lingering question prevents me from walking through those doors and thanking those six people whose names I will never forget:
Will they even remember me?