Education in the past was a whole lot different to what it is today. The strictness of the teachers who had to ‘educate’ us was something that had to be accepted as part and parcel of the whole educational system. The fact that they could reprimand the students not just verbally but through corporal punishment gave them power which was easily abused by some teachers.
Teachers have a very profound effect on children as they are influential figures in their lives for many hours in the day and at a stage of the child’s life when the foundation of their character is being laid for years to come. The way they treat a child can leave a life long impression especially on children who are vulnerable or of a sensitive nature. Bullying or hitting a child, continually scolding or picking on the child makes them feel there is something wrong with them and this can affect the child’s self esteem not just in childhood, but for years to come.
I still remember as if it was today how strict one of our teachers was. The 12 inch ruler accompanied her wherever she went and she used it to discipline anyone who dared to step out of line. This could be a simple thing like asking a question out of turn or speaking in class louder than one should have done. She would punish by hitting the student on the palm of the hand and also making sure that the side of the ruler fell on the boniest part of the palm so that the whole experience was both humiliating and painful at the same time. This teacher also had a habit of picking on one or two students whom she enjoyed bullying at the slightest excuse.
Another thing a bad teacher can do is to take advantage of a child. There have been cases where teachers have made sexual advances towards children and succeeded in having sex with these minors. This can be very demoralizing for the young child who is being taken advantage of as such alliances, in addition to being wrong, are secretive and therefore affect the self esteem of a vulnerable child. The child cannot discuss this with his own parents or friends as it is part of an ugly secret.
There is also the possibility that a teacher cannot teach in the best possible way to a child because he is not a very communicative person and therefore cannot impart of his knowledge in a way that is beneficial to his students. As a result we have students who have not understood the subject matter because the teacher was unable to explain things in a better way.
Teachers have a great responsibility towards society and it is a very sad fact that some people have had a bad start in life being taught by teachers whose negative and irresponsible behavior has affected them for life. On the other hand the encouragement of a good teacher and the belief he has in you can boost a child’s self confidence and give him the foundation to make a success of his life in years to come.