What I Wished More Teachers Told Their Students

How I Grew Appreciation for School

Tavian Jean-Pierre

3 months ago|4 min read



Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

As a badly behaved student, most of the messages I heard from teachers were negative. They were either telling me off or reminding me that I was on route to failure.

For the most part, I never appreciated the value of education. I believed it constrained my ability to be myself. And this view was held by me until I was 17 years of age.

Unfortunately, this view is becoming more common among younger individuals in education. With the ability to now pursue what you love, people feel like they can not be themselves in the rigid constraints of education.

However, I learned that education is less about what we can be and more about who we can become. What we can be is often a problem we deal with in the present. It is the question we ask ourselves when we are deciding on our future career or progression in life.

Although it is an essential question, my teacher let me know that education is less concerned with this question. We can all be whatever we want, and we tend to change our minds quite often.

When we are young, this question of what we can be seems to never have one straight answer. It is common for people between 18–24 to change jobs over five times. Deciding on what we can be is a lifelong journey, with many people settling on a career after 39 years of age.

My teacher told me:

“Education is more concerned with the development of your character. Not the growth of your pockets.”

As a young man driven to make money, my teacher changed the trajectory of my life by saying this. And in this article, I hope to explain why this message is one that must be heard by all students.

Education as a Means to Develop Character

There is no surprise that platforms like this one are full of articles focused on personal growth. As we learn about new insights, we hope to apply the knowledge to our lives.

From first observations, education does not seem to be anything like a personal development article. Instead, it is a bunch of subjects one is instructed to learn that appear to have no use for their future.

However, how we see our future will inevitably decide if our present selves are doing valuable things. As highlighted, school is less concerned with what we want to be, and instead, who we can become.

School is about nurturing our potential rather than sending us down a path to one thing. By learning about various subjects we become better informed about the world around us.

Fair enough, no one may ever ask you about WW2 or atoms in chemistry. However, knowing about these things gives you a greater appreciation for the world around you.

To build a society that is well-rounded, our character development is essential. It is not about just learning about what can benefit us in the future. We must learn about the grounding values that our society stands on.

Although we would like to think that everyone learning the things that benefit them is more useful, it has turned out awfully. We have become a more shallow society with people condoning actions like slapping someone in public.

Without good character, the potential of an individual is extremely low. And although education has a long way to go in allowing its model to encompass personal flourishing, it is on the right track.

Focussing on the development of character through teaching a range of topics builds appreciation. And when students see education in this way, they will find value in its purpose.

My Message to Students and Teachers

I would like to first address the teachers. I have much respect for what you do, and without you, society would not be the same. In my opinion, it is one of the noblest and most honourable acts to teach someone what one has had to learn through years of study, pain and experience.

As the world is changing, students are changing too. They are becoming more connected to the world around them, and you are no longer their primary teacher. Instead, they learn from social influencers, google searches and more.

Students are now becoming more independent and trying to take control of their own character building. I applaud students for doing this, but many also do it with a lack of appreciation for school.

As a result, I ask teachers to become more patient with their students. Listen to their views and create open spaces that allow students to critique the education model. In doing so, teachers can echo the important message of school and education.

Tell students that it is less about what they know, and instead about who they are becoming. They are becoming rounded individuals who can become valuable members of society.

For students, I hope you open your minds to the possibility that school is actually a valuable part of your development. Learning to work with others and master a range of subjects is essential for growth.

Therefore, be patient with your teachers and school. Some of my most valuable lessons and experiences have come from my school. And that is not because I focussed on the content. As I highlighted, I was a terrible student. That is because I learned to appreciate the mission of education.

Education seeks not to put money in your pocket. Your career does that.

Education seeks not to please. How you pursue happiness does that.

Education seeks to develop your character so you can become a valuable member of society. And for the most part, I see no better way to do that than take the young and teach them to appreciate the range of knowledge that society has to offer.

In doing so, they can grow up to be respectful towards other’s professions, beliefs and values. And that is what school aims to do for us all.


Tavian Jean-Pierre

A Visionary and Writer that hopes to inspire leaders, change ideologies, and encourage others to be their best selves.



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