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Five life lessons a student only learns from their teacher

By Tom O'Donahoo on 11 September 2016CultureLeadershipNSWstaffroomUKstaffroom

If you do the math - a student spends an enormous chunk of their developmental life inside a school's walls, so it's fair to assume that teachers probably have a significant impact beyond the academic.

Although teaching might feel like parenting at times, (or even babysitting) there are some lessons in life that only a great teacher can pass on. We spoke to our team and they agreed that there are five lessons in particular that we owe to the great people that raised taught us.

1. The world is full of wonder

A good teacher will introduce their students to the discovery, creation and thought that came before them. A great teacher will go beyond to leave their minds ringing with the possibilities of what is still to come. It's that wonder that goes on to spur innovation, makes a student persevere beyond roadblocks and lay awake at night dreaming of what may be.

2. Not everything comes easy

Our parents might tell us that we're pretty much the best person that ever lived (thanks Mum!). Teachers on the other hand are not obliged to shield their students from the sometimes harsh realities of the world. Although it might be a tough lesson to learn, it's at school that we're taught the true meaning of meritocracy.

3. The importance of personal responsibility

School represents the first time that young people are forced to take their future into their own hands. Although there's generous support and a pretty strong safety net, their success is largely determined upon their own ability to self motivate. Although a teacher can push and cajole all they like, if they want their students to survive in the big bad world, they have to empower their students to make positive decisions about their futures for themselves.

4. You're capable of more than you think

A great teacher will lay down challenges to their students that are just beyond their reach and invest the time and care to arm them with the skills to overcome their limitations. It's teachers that show us that the difference between ourselves and greatness is not some genetic gift, but putting in the time, effort and dedication to achieve what was once impossible.

5. Real leadership is about empowering others

Although much of the media seems to think that great leaders are those willing to murder their way to the top, our teachers shows us that true leadership is much more than a killer resume. Great teachers literally embody the lesson that those who inspire, engage and selflessly empower others are the ones that people will follow.

It's these five lessons that make us resilient people, great parents and good citizens, which is arguably much more important than just being great students.

So to the teachers that we owe these lessons to - we can't thank you enough!

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