Kuwait Times

Impact of teachers on students’ lives

- By Zainab Al-Mashoor

KUWAIT: Beyond imparting knowledge, teachers possess remarkable abilities to shape, mold, or transform their students’ journeys, whether through encouragem­ent or discourage­ment, recognitio­n or neglect. They may be the heroes or the villains of their story. Individual­s share with Kuwait Times their stories on how their teachers played a big role in their present lives.

Sumayya discovered her learning disability; Danah’s dream was shattered; Basma became a journalist; Aymen became anti-religious; numbers became Zahra’s weakness; Tarek overcame the fear of public speaking; Hussam learned the language; and Salma followed the right path. Sumayya recalls her transforma­tive journey abroad. Despite living alone, her teacher provided unwavering support, akin to that of a caring mother. Recognizin­g Sumayya’s struggles, the teacher identified dyslexia, which was not discovered by anyone — a revelation that empowered Sumayya to embrace her imperfecti­ons and strive for improvemen­t. The teacher’s encouragem­ent motivated Sumayya to pursue her passion, and now she’s a successful interior designer.

Danah’s dream was to be a journalist. “My teacher changed my fate; she disliked me with no motives and failed me in her subject while I did really well in it. She discourage­d me, telling me that I am bad at writing and that I will never succeed. This made me feel upset,” she explained. “Heading to my advisor, I filed a grievance but was still denied the opportunit­y to step into journalism, which made me choose another career,” she added.

On the other hand, Basma became a journalist thanks to her teacher, who discovered her talent for writing. “It was in 5th grade when my teacher was reading a poem that I got inspired to write my own poem. He caught me not being attentive in class and read my writing; instead of punishing me, he looked at me proudly and told me that I needed to continue writing as I had a bright future,” Basma told the Kuwait

Times. Since then, he has always encouraged me to participat­e in school activities and competitio­ns, which boosted my confidence to share my writings with my friends and family and helped me choose my college major. The kindness and encouragem­ent of Basma’s teacher helped her become a journalist today.

55-year-old Aymen became anti-religious because of his teacher. He was in an environmen­t where his teacher used to verbally and physically abuse him for practicing his religion. Witnessing hypocrisy and injustice instead of finding solace and guidance in his faith, he was led to disbelief and anti-religiousn­ess. Ultimately, Aymen’s journey reflects the sad truth about how a teacher’s actions may cause a huge transforma­tion and build hatred for their beliefs.

Being an excellent student, numbers became the weakness of Zahra. She was asked to solve a math problem in sixth grade. While she answered, the teacher kept confusing her by asking her if she was sure about the answer, which made her change her answer from (+) to (-).

She then asked another student to solve the problem, and all the student did was change it from (-) to (+). The teacher then clapped and said, “Now this is how smart people solve their math questions; always be like him and never make stupid decisions like Zahra.” It became a joke, and everyone laughed it over. Zahra could not forget that moment, and everything about math and numbers became a hindrance for her till date.

Tarek has overcome the fear barriers of speaking publicly. His teacher always encouraged him to read out loud in front of the students and helped him overcome his fear and anxiety, which led him to be successful and confident. Hussam’s teacher was the main reason for his fluency in the English language. As he was never interested in the subject, the teacher mentored him and understood his weakness. She gave him tips on how to learn it in an easier way, which helped him today. Salma’s teacher always advised her to follow the right path and do the right things by sharing stories and situations and how they could be dealt with. Her words were capable of influencin­g Salma’s decisions during her life journey.

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