This is my 12th grade German language teacher. Writing has been a passion of mine for over a decade now. When we wrote essays in school, my grades were average at best… until this teacher appeared.
His teaching method and philosophy was new to me. He did not enter the classroom with any script or guideline that most teachers follow to teach students the obligatory material. Sitting in his classroom was more like sitting under a tree in Ancient Greece, with a group of peers, listening Socrates speak. I still admire the intelligence and honesty in this man’s eyes… my teacher’s eyes of course, not Socrates’.
It seems like it was this honesty, realness, and rawness that he radiated, that made me trust him. This trust started being visible in the essays I wrote under his guidance. My grades skyrocketed and I developed a different style of and consciousness in writing.
His stoic attitude will always follow and inspire me in many other aspects outside of writing. His sophisticated way of talking, showed me the importance of gathering knowledge, questioning your knowledge, and then updating your knowledge. Your mind should never live in a static state. It should be moving, flowing, changing… it should be flexible and curious.
It depends. I can be both, a leader and a follower, and the truth is that nobody is only one or the other all the time. If you are honest to and about yourself you will know your strengths and weaknesses. You will act as a leader when your strengths are needed. Additionally, you will act as a follower when someone else’s strengths are best fitting for the specific situation.
Trying to be a leader in a situation that is new to you, or without having the necessary experience in a specific field, is irresponsible. You are not only taking your own but the fate of others into your own inexperienced hands.
Whenever you are uncertain if a situation is appropriate for you to step up as a leader, take a step back. You can watch and analyse the person who took up the the position. If they are doing a great job, you will have taken the right decision. If they start making mistakes and be criticised, you can step up and take their place as a leader. This can have two outcomes. Either you are worse than the previous leader, then you will have an even worse reputation than him. Contrarily, you could do a better job than him, which has a high probability if your predecessor was really bad, and your reputation will be even better than it would have been without a bad predecessor.
In conclusion, an appropriate knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses is important in your decision to be leader or a follower. Being a leader or a follower is not a permanent state. In a hierarchical structure you will probably simultaneously be a leader to some and a follower to others. Choosing the right role to play in a specific situation is evidence of deep self-knowledge and self-awareness.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
Influential teachers focus on their pupils/students futures and help them discover and improve their strengths and passions. They support their potential. My most influential teacher was my German language teacher in the German highschool I went to in 2014-2015. He inspired me to continue writing, a passion that I always had but was downplayed by my previous teachers.
Still Waters Run Deep
This was the most intellectual and sophisticated German language teacher that I ever had. One quote he wrote down in the assessment of an essay was, “Still waters run deep”. This motivated me to use writing to share everything that is hidden in the deepest corners of my soul. Things, that I could not share through speaking, due to my introverted nature.
The role of influential teachers should always be to inspire and motivate young people to become the best versions of themselves. Unfortunately, teachers mostly only share knowledge with no personal/close relationship to their students. They do not interact with them on a personal level to get to know them deeper and try to get out the best of them. This is what my influential German teacher did. He understood me and helped me believe in myself and the passion I have for literature and writing. I thank him wholeheartedly for that.
students and inspirational masters
Students are always motivated and inspired by their masters. Teachers are not always masters of their craft but they can take on the role of a master. I have heard many people complain that they had lost interest for their favorite school subject because of the teacher. On the contrary, I heard stories of influential teachers who made subjects even more interesting. As a result, active participation of young students in a subject increased and grades improved.
Influential Teachers Dive Into the Personal Level
Another positive characteristic of an influential teacher is his ability to read their students and to adapt to their subjective strengths and weaknesses. In addition, he should be able to show that he understands his students. When my teacher added, “Still waters run deep” into the assessment of my essay, he showed me that he sees and understands an essential part of myself, my introversion. From that point on, I could trust him and felt more comfortable walking into the classroom during this subject. A teacher holds great responsibility and power in his hands. He can inspire or discourage a student to a great extent.