From a Teen’s Perspective: Why teachers deserve all the love

by Dylan Lanier on July 25, 2023

Monday was my first day as a counselor at Camp CuriOdyssey, a wonderful STEM camp for students all the way from Pre-K to 6th grade. Working with the kids was exciting, engaging, rewarding — and tiring as hell!

Keeping a bunch of kids in one place, let alone trying to teach them about science, was often a Herculean task. The campers are sweet kids with lots of energy, and they understandably have trouble sitting still and paying attention.

After just one day, I realize how much respect our teachers should receive for their difficult yet irreplaceable work. Here’s a list of my biggest takeaways as to why they deserve all the love.

1. Every kid is different: Some kids have a hard time leaving their parents at drop-off. Others have trouble sharing. A few are still learning how to use the potty. No matter the age, every student is different. Adapting to each and everyone’s needs so that they can grow happily and successfully is an enormous accomplishment that I hope to learn someday. Teachers do this every year with every class. They know how to size students up and alter their approach to effectively tailor their learning.

2. Holding focus: So far, I would be lucky to get more than 10 seconds of a camper’s undivided attention. Teachers have to command a room for hours at a time while not just trying to maintain order but expand their students’ mind. The ability to do so is one of mastery and reflects their inherent aura of knowledge and authority.

3. The ultimate patience: Kids can be simultaneously the most uplifting and annoying individuals on the planet. Being able to deal with both sides while remaining calm and collected is necessary to a comfortable and constructive class environment. Teachers are able to withstand the consistent onslaught of misbehavior, distracted students, and “potty words.” Understanding your students is the cornerstone of being a teacher, and remaining patient even when kids push your buttons is a reflection of that belief.

4. Balancing work and play: Sometimes all a kid needs is a quick break on the playground. Teachers have to make judgement calls about when they should push students to keep working or give them time to let their wiggles out. Balancing a kid’s academic education with their overall well-being is of the utmost importance, especially as the workload gets heavier, and being able to do so shows just how talented teachers are.

5. Having fun: On top of it all, being able to have fun with students and revel in the joy of learning is the sign of a truly amazing teacher. While a large part of education work is simply teaching students what they have to know, it’s also about fostering social skills and helping them find subjects they’re passionate about. Helping a kid grow not just as a student but as a person is a challenging yet admirable undertaking.

It’s been well documented that our teachers don’t get enough appreciation. As cliché as it sounds, they are shaping the minds of tomorrow. They are the backbone of our society, and it’s time we started treating them like it. So the next time you see a teacher, give them a hug, a high-five, or just a simple thumbs-up. They deserve it.

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Author Dylan Lanier is a rising senior at Menlo-Atherton High School.

Photo courtesy of Camp CuriOdyssey


Caroline Pecore July 25, 2023 at 5:51 pm

Nice one Dylan! You should check out this podcast: I’ve been working with kids this summer too and it helped me think about my interactions with them in a new way! 🙂

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Ann Diederich July 25, 2023 at 5:56 pm

I completely agree about our recognizing our teachers. I’ve been loving the recent InMenlo stories from local students, which is a sign those teachers have been doing an excellent job.

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