Balance of Chastise, Nurture

Jun 24 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I had a delightful encounter with one of my former teachers while out on the road the other day. I was excited to see her after a long time and eagerly called out her name. I could see the joy in her eyes upon recognising me. We shared a warm hug which was a truly joyful moment.

Many individuals have a memory of a certain teacher from their elementary or high school days who impacted their personality in some way. Some are fortunate enough to have had several teachers like this during their academic years.

This particular teacher was instrumental in nurturing my love for the English language. My confidence flourished under her guidance. Her gentle encouragement and unwavering support helped me and my classmates realize our full creative potential.

Teaching is a challenging profession that requires patience. The dedication of many teachers who have remained in the profession for decades is admirable. They have stayed committed to their calling despite the low wages. Most teachers I knew during my elementary years did not even change schools. Some have stayed for over five decades.

I wonder how they navigated through the different eras.

As someone who grew up in a time where disobedience towards parents and teachers was uncommon, I understand the value of discipline and do not hold any grudges against my teachers. I believe that it is important for students to be respectful when expressing disagreement with their teachers.

Teachers are human and are not immune to making mistakes or lacking knowledge in certain areas. If students have evidence to support their claim, they should present it to their teacher. While some may not welcome this, true educators will use it as an opportunity to improve themselves.

However, I have witnessed students who are rude and disrespectful, which is unacceptable. Some may feel that they are above the rules and that they can get away with anything, owing to their family's status. While I do not condone physically harming students, I believe that adherence to rules is necessary. Teachers should have the right to discipline their students without fear of retribution or ridicule.

In the past, teachers were the sole source of education for the mass, which makes their commitment to the profession all the more admirable. Good teachers were students' inner voices with their words of encouragement helping build self-esteem while a poor teacher destroyed a student's confidence and fueled self-doubt.

Nowadays, one can learn anything with time, patience, and passion thanks to technology. But teachers remain responsible for producing capable citizens next to parents and guardians as children spend more time at school.

A genuine teacher ensures that their students have a complete understanding of the subject matter. They equip their students with the necessary skills to create a better future and go above and beyond to accommodate students' needs rather than solely focusing on passing or failing them.

Their role in society cannot be overstated. They serve as the driving force behind the development of children, instilling in them the necessary skills and knowledge to become productive. They create well-rounded individuals by training children how to read, write, and think critically, as well as providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the world around them.

Teachers are an integral part of the economy. They are behind the workforce, equipping students with the tools necessary to succeed. Despite their significance, teachers are often undervalued and under-compensated, expected to work extended hours and handle challenging students.

The brief chat with my former educator had me thinking about all this and then more. It always amazes me how they age like fine wine. She looked just as I remember her despite the passage of time and exuded the same positive energy and radiance. It was an encounter that served as a reminder to always treat others with kindness and to strive to make a positive impact on their lives.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 24,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1208]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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