“Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them”
Whether or not you agree with him, you can’t disregard the role that teachers play in a child’s life. I’m hoping after you read about my favourite teacher, you will realise that sometimes the things that are good for us don’t always seem like it at the time.
That being said, my favourite teacher is not any teacher that taught me at school, although they were great teachers. It was my uncle Washington Matshazi. He played the role of a father to me when I was growing up. Due to the fact that my mother worked out of town, I spent the bulk of my growing up years at my aunt and uncle’s house.
He is my favourite teacher for the following reasons:
Firstly, he improved my English. See, I attended a primary school where everything was taught in my home language Ndebele so I hardly knew any English. He improved my English in many ways, one of which was what my cousins and I later termed “Impromptu Spelling Bees”. They took the following format:
You’d be out there playing, basically minding your own business and ‘the headmaster’ as we used to call him behind his back, would say “You, come here”. You’d go and he’d say something like “Spell Vauxhall” (the car he drove at the time). You’d be standing there in trepidation saying “Uhm… Ah… V-A-W” and he’d shout “How can you not be able to spell it when you see it outside every day?! Now go back out there and come back when you can spell it!” Needless to say, I can proudly proclaim to know how to spell Vauxhall today.
Secondly, he’s my favourite teacher because he introduced me to a love of reading. He didn’t do so through bed-time stories, no such luck with ‘the headmaster’. He did it through what we later called “The Book Throw”.
This consisted of him finding you, as always, playing around and minding your own business. Next thing you knew, a copy of Reader’s Digest would be thrown at you, or whatever book was nearby. Without him saying anything, you’d know that meant you had to find a story or chapter to read and then go and tell him about it, in English to make matters worse!
Although I found all this to be taxing at the time, now it’s through reading that I’m inspired on a daily basis.
Thirdly, he’s my favourite teacher because he led to me becoming a lawyer. He did this through what we now refer to as “Debates by Force”.
The nature of these was such that we’d be, as always, playing around, minding our own business and we’d suddenly be summoned to the lounge (which turned into our bedroom when there were visitors). Here ‘the headmaster’ would say “It is better to educate a boy than a girl. You 3, you are for, you 3 you’re against. You have 15 minutes to prepare. Go!” We’d scramble out to go and prepare. It didn’t matter that one cousin and I were about 9 or 10 years old at the time and my eldest cousin was already at university. We were all treated the same and had to present our arguments to him, in English of course!
These are evidence that the best lessons are usually found outside of the classroom. So yes you might send your children to school to be educated, but it matters more what you teach them at home. It will influence the trajectory of their lives. 20 or 30 years from now your child might be asked about his or her favourite teacher.
Wouldn’t you want that to be you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sibo Hlabangana is a dreamer who is happiest when she is inspiring and motivating people to follow their dreams. She loves reading and playing board games. You can visit her blog by clicking here, where she writes about following your dreams and books that have inspired her, among other things.
You can also find her on twitter @sibohlabangana