Teachers are singlehandedly the most important people you are ever going to come into contact with outside of your immediate family and in some cases, even more pertinent in your journey throughout life.
I’m not kidding or overstating this in any way at all (even though I am on occasion known to be a tiny bit overdramatic!). True, my mother is in education so I may be a little biased but I do truly believe that teachers shape your life, and most imperatively, your attitude.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t have a “teacher” story to tell. Unfortunately though, not all the teacher tales are good ones. I have a friend who actually dropped out of school at the age of sixteen because his teacher had such a profoundly negative effect on him he could simply no longer take the torture of having to go and see her face for a whole two more years.
In hindsight, I often wonder if he thinks back to his decision and ponders on how his life could have been different had he soldiered on for two more years. I mean, what’s two years in comparison to an entire lifetime? For adults – nothing. For a teenager being mentally bludgeoned five days a week, simply put – the end.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was gifted with a teacher comprised with the best quality any educator could ever possibly have and that’s inspiration. My art teacher, Mr John Philippides didn’t just teach me art, he taught me attitude. Best of all, Mr. Philippides taught me about life, in an age where most of us struggle between right and wrong, about going against the grain because it’s the right thing to do, about the “mark” we want to leave on the planet. Some of you would know that I didn’t exactly have an easy time throughout school. I was bullied continuously and being a fair bit younger than my classmates didn’t help, what with having a “delayed” reaction to anything that actually mattered, namely leaving all the “uncool things’ behind, like my love for Disney characters (which has never left by the way. Just in case you’re wondering).
Mr. Philippides would often tell me I’d forget about him once I left school and I would vehemently deny the atrocious accusation, he didn’t believe me and I’d just like to say, I have proven you wrong Mr. Philippides!
I often think about my art teacher and his many, innumerable gifts that he has partaken with me along the way. Though he most likely will never know, his words of wisdom continue to stroll alongside me throughout my many obstacles, turns and twists and like him; they inspire me to be the best I can.
Though I always knew of his immense talent, my youthful naivety blinded me to the truly great artist he was and the amazing genius the rest of the World had also been fortunate enough to glimpse.
My childhood “greed” I guess (for the lack of a better word) almost always believed that he was simply put on this planet to teach me art! 😀 However, I was wrong, and now I see the profound effect my art teacher has had on many lives outside of mine, but he was still and always will be my teacher first!
Thank you Mr. Philippides for teaching me about life, your enamoured lessons are ones that I am positive I will take with me across lifetimes because yours are ones that touched my soul, not just my brain.