Teachers teach more than just the curriculum


Leea Ivanel

Math teacher Allison Davis (left) had a huge impact on her student, Miya Okumura (right), who she taught for two years. Davis was the first teacher Okumura felt comfortable talking to and going to for help because she is always passionate about her job and always there to support her students through their toughest times.

Leea Ivanel, Staff Writer

As the end of my junior year draws near, there’s one thing that I keep thinking about: where would I be without my teachers?

When I entered high school, I expected to learn basic things, like what year the Civil War started or what a hyperbole was. I did not expect to learn how to be a better person, or how to cope with my anxiety, or how to stay alive, and I certainly didn’t expect any of my teachers to actually care about my existence.

Three years later, however, I’ve come to see that some teachers are a lot more than just “teachers.”

Instead of making it their main goal to teach us facts so we can pass the final or the AP test, their main goal is to teach us lessons that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives.

Have you ever had a teacher which you could trust?

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I’ve been blessed with at least one such teacher every year since I have come to Carlmont.

As a freshman, I was a foreign kid with little self-confidence — I had never considered advanced courses simply because I assumed I could never work at the same level as my American-born peers. I was prepared to spend the rest of my high school taking boring, regular-level classes because anything else would be considered unacceptable for someone like me. 

That changed when I got Robert Colvig as my English teacher.

I honestly can’t say that I remember much of his class in terms of scholarly topics; I know we read Romeo and Juliet at one point and wrote poetry at the beginning of the year.

What I can say is that I would have never been in any advanced classes, much less journalism, if it were not for him. I would have continued to be just another lost, foreign kid in a world where no one cared.

He was the first teacher to ever take any sort of interest in me, and throughout the year he pushed me to improve and to have confidence in my writing and in myself. If it were not for his support I would be a much less determined, much more watered-down version of myself today, and I wouldn’t have achieved even half of what I have.

On top of that, Colvig was kind enough to deal with my endless anxiety and emotional issues, and I found his classroom to be a refuge and safe space from the world when I needed to be.

The next year I got Justin Raisner as my journalism teacher. While he started his class during my sophomore year with his motto, “You’re not special,” I’ve come to see value in Raisner’s style of teaching.

Because of him, I’ve learned that, yes, sometimes even your best might not be good enough, and that real life ruthlessly requires constant hard work and determination in order to succeed.

Still, it is my 10th-grade English teacher who has made the biggest impact on me and who I owe the most to.

Cynthia Faupusa‘s class is what you could call a non-conventional English class; we spent far more time discussing society and life than we ever did learning grammatical structures or bleeding texts dry for the sake of analysis.

I, however, learned more from her than I did from anyone else.

In the time that she was my teacher, and after that as well, Faupusa was always there for me, and I knew that she was someone I could always rely on. From letting me chill in her class after school, to dealing with my panic attacks at 10 p.m., to always being willing to listen without judging, but while giving me advice, she went above and beyond what is asked of any teacher.

Because of her, I am here today to write this article in the first place, and because of her and her help I went through probably the worst time of my life.

On top of that, she inspired me to go into social work in the future, as she showed me that sometimes just caring for someone and attempting to help them in the middle of their despair is more important than anything else.

So, to all students reading this, and especially any freshmen, don’t be afraid to get close to your teachers next year; they aren’t there just to give you homework or mark you late.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”

— Brad Henry, former Oklahoma senator

In my experience, most of Carlmont’s teachers are very kind people, and they really do care about their students when they say they do. It’s also good to have an adult that you feel safe with and can trust, and teachers are a great resource.

And to all teachers: it’s important to realize that you really can have a big impact on your students’ lives, from changing who they are to where they are going in life.

Because of that, you have one of the most important jobs in the world — one that has a high responsibility. What you do may be passing moments to you, but it could be life-turning events for one of your students.

And to all my teachers, from my bottom of my heart, thank you. I would not be who I am today without you.

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