Teachers are people

This past Monday I was introduced to the Hindu observance of Guru Purnima. According to Wikipedia,  Guru Purnima “is an Indian festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival traditionally celebrated by Hindus & Buddhists, to thank their teachers.” I did a lot of thinking these past few days about some of the teachers that I have had. How did those teachers impact my day to day life? How am I still learning from their teachings? What have I learned from them? Really loaded questions.

Mom & the three sister-faces before I was around...

Mom & the three sister-faces before I was around…

#2 sister-face & I circa 1990. Happy birthday to you, #2!

#2 sister-face & I circa 1990. Happy birthday to you, #2!

 I remember this essay I wrote when I was applying for boarding school. I was in the eighth grade. I was taking the entrance exam. During the exam, there was an essay portion. I knew it was there. I had practiced for weeks writing essay after essay. When I got down to it, I ended up writing about the #2 sister-face and how she was my hero. She saved me from having to take care of the dead rat in the rat trap. It was really gross & she was really brave for doing so. I have learned a lot from my sisters. Whether it was good, like how I should brush my hair, or bad (we’ll just not get into that), I have learned a lot from the three sister-faces, mom, step-dad, aunties, uncles… The list goes on. Thank you. 

I think for most people, Guru Purnima might be thought of in a literal sense. Like Teacher Appreciation day, Guru Purnima is a way to remember all the hard work that our teachers do just to present a lesson that some of us might actually learn. Here’s a graphic that helps to explain it all. My mom is a retired public school teacher. I’d say this graphic is pretty accurate. 

And that’s just teachers in the general educational system. It doesn’t include professors, lecturers, or TAs (on the collegiate level & other levels), & librarians. Many people have completed years of education in  a particular area of study. What’s even better is that rather than keep what they’ve learned secret, these people have become teachers themselves. 

Some of the kids I grew up with are now teaching at different levels. One of them is even spearheading a project to promote studying aboard. That’s really huge for a small town like Kohala. It’s  a worth while project that will impact the lives of young people from Kohala. This project will get young people from rural North Kohala out into different parts of the world. It will broaden their world view. It will be an experience that will shape their next steps into adulthood, college, or whatever their future may hold. It is happening because one teacher made up her mind to do it. I say well done, Jessica! 

Hard working teachers, Jessica & my mom, deserve all the support they can get. They become trusted pillars of the community not just by being there, but by presenting new ideas that will help to keep big dreams happening & then coming true. This is why I will not gripe about money being taken from me, in the form of taxes, if the money goes to education. I’m fine with giving teachers raises. I’m okay paying a little more out if it means that students in Kohala will have access to valuable educational resources to achieve success. Teachers need community support too. Participate programs like Shop for Better Education. Help children learn out of the classroom by listening to advice from teachers. Volunteer & help children in the classroom too.

I did have teachers like Jessica. They were young. They really engaged me. I was not amused. I was a teenager & I thought they were lame. The truth is that I was lame for not understanding the awesome knowledge they were offering to me. Now, every time I’m in the student seat, I do my best to absorb, ask questions & thank my teachers.

Teachers come in all shapes & sizes & disciplines. I am a Nia teacher. I specialize in the Nia 5 Stages. I teach classes & lead workshops at the Still & Moving Center in Kakaako. I don’t bring this up as a shameless self promotion. I bring it up because I now have a small understanding of what my teachers/mentors have done in order to further their understanding of their discipline. Two of my favorite teachers have taught me much more than their discipline. They have taught me how to find my path. Laura & Heera, who I have written about in an earlier posts, have a way of teaching that makes me, as a student feel so blessed to have such knowledge being shared with me. I think the best thing I can do as a student is to share how I came across my knowledge. I can let other people know that there are awesome teachers out there. I can let people know how to find them. That’s really exciting to me. Only thing more exciting… being taught by the bad-ass teachers of Hogwarts!




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