OPINION: The advice we need but never receive

By Alex Rosenfeld

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The most important thing my fifth grade science teacher taught me had nothing to do with kidneys, hurricanes or the moon. What he taught me was to stand out from the crowd and keep on fighting for what I believe in, even if other people argue against me. It’s advice that’s stuck with me for years.

Teachers are constantly villainized because of the lessons and classes that they must teach, but we frequently forget that they are far from evil. It’s certainly possible that if they were allowed to give more realistic advice and focus less on state requirements, they’d seem more human. Usually the best things we can learn from teachers have nothing to do with the curriculum, and their advice often defies the beliefs we hold about school.

“One thing I wish my teachers had told me is that high school doesn’t define us,” history teacher Caitlin Jozefczyk said. “If you don’t do that great on a test or if you have a rough class, [students] think it’s the end of the world for them… and it’s really not the case; everything is going to be fine.”

In addition to confronting the inaccurate beliefs that come with high school, sometimes teachers can give us the direction they never received in their youth. This lack of guidance has led to tough experiences many teachers have had to endure, but with their help, we can avoid those same landmines.

“[My] teachers never taught me about real life,” art teacher John Atura said. “The presumption is that you learn how to do a job, and then you go and you get it. But the truth of the matter is you go and you get the job and once you have it then you learn how to do it.”

But their advice doesn’t always have to do with school; it can include that advice we need but rarely receive. Personal encouragement, realistic advice and actual guidance are always underemphasized in light of trigonomics and literary analysis. But which will we use more in life?

“There’s a big difference between what you need and what you want,” Mr. Atura said. “A lot of the stuff you think you really need, you don’t need it. Also, don’t go into debt. It sucks.”

Lastly, some advice is simple and effective: advice is no good if it’s too complex but it can stick with you for a while if you remember it.

“The [quote] I found the best was, ‘to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world,’” practical arts teacher Caren Maw said.