Can you recall your favorite high school teacher?

Image from: The National Education Association

Do you recall the name of your favorite high-school teacher? Of course, you do. Mine is Ms. Bautista, our high school Filipino teacher in Colegio San Agustin. I had the privilege of taking her class.

I was first enrolled in Colegio San Agustin or CSA at grade one. My grade school and high school memories are fleeting. This comes with age. As years go by, I can remember only bits and pieces of my school days. The names of some of my classmates already elude me. I also forgot how some of them look like.

However, two teachers stand-out. They are Ms. Bautista and Mrs. Tolentino. Both teachers stood out from the rest because they believed in my potential. They believe that all students have great potentials. I was not the brightest student in my class. I would even position myself at the lower half of the class in terms of average grades.

Despite my lackluster grades, these two teachers believed that I can do better. They saw potentiality rather than problems. They kept encouraging me instead of putting me down. Other teachers would take a stand that if you are less than average then they leave you at that. A few teachers only care about their pay and benefits.

Ms. Bautista and Mrs. Tolentino would find ways to encourage me and others to try to perform better. We were encouraged to be better. They took the time to explain again the lessons we did not understand.

Fast forward to corporate life. Similarly, the leaders I recall with respect and admiration are those that showed confidence in my abilities. Whenever I or my colleagues made a mistake, these leaders would talk about why the mistake happened. We would then discuss how to resolve the problem and prevent a recurrence.

These leaders also took the time to develop us. Our development was intentional and planned. They know that a great part of their responsibility is to develop their direct reports and their people. I recall these leaders from the lessons I learned from them. This is very similar to the teachers I recall.

On the other hand, countless times, I witnessed various leaders that immediately attack employees for mistakes rather than figure out the cause of the problem. They start looking for who to blame instead of helping resolve and prevent a recurrence. The default decision is guitly based on the grapevine. Guilty, based on other people’s opinions. Guilty even before hearing out the concerned employee.

I had the opportunity to work with over two dozen leaders in my corporate life. However, very few of them I can recall by name. The ones I can recall are leaders that raise up their teams rather than bring them down. They stand out so clearly that they are easily recalled. They stand out because I try to emulate their leadership style and be like them. They stand out because they are servant leaders.

Teachers are like leaders. They have hundreds, if not thousands, of followers throughout their careers. The ones that stand out are the ones that believe in and take the time to develop their students. The ones that stand out are the ones that make a difference in their student’s life. They stand out because just thinking about them puts a smile on my face. They stand out because they are servant leaders to their students.

Great teachers improve their student’s life.

How about you? Who are your favorite teachers and why? If they are still around, I strongly suggest that you reach out and thank them.

Stay Safe everyone,

Jordan Imutan

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