The Importance of Teaching: Tutors Reflect on How Past Teachers Influenced Their Futures

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

The impact that a teacher can have on a student is often underestimated—the moment a student steps into a classroom, a teacher can single-handedly change a student’s entire academic and professional career with a few mere minutes of engaging learning.

Looking back on our careers as students and looking ahead to our futures continuing into the professional realm, we at Ignite thought about those special teachers who made an impact in our lives.

As a group of tutors, we especially see the tremendously positive influence that the friendship and motivation from a mentor or teacher can have on a student’s drive to succeed; at Ignite we all strive to foster this type of relationship and teaching style with each and every one of our tutees.

We talked to our tutors about their favorite teachers and the impacts these adults had on them in their adolescence. The following are a few of our favorite memories they shared with us:

My favorite teacher I had growing up was my high school Psychology teacher, Mrs. Sizemore. The facets I loved most about her were her effortless grace and love for teaching [as well as] her unparalleled ability to help others no matter their situation… I learned life skills and lessons that would carry me through the rest of my life. Mrs. Sizemore taught me the importance of staying true to yourself and also the undeniable importance of overcoming obstacles, no matter what they may be, in order to achieve the greatest result… She helped me write the Valedictorian Speech for my high school graduation, [and] I will never forget the tears on her cheeks as I presented the speech in front of the entire auditorium! These are just some of the few reasons that Mrs. Sizemore left a lasting impression on my academic career as well as my personal growth and journey.”

- Kelly O. 2nd Year Bioengineering Major at UCLA, Science and Math Tutor

“My freshman year in high school, I had a teacher named Mr. Montali for Biology. He was such a funny and engaging teacher the entire year... Fast forward to my senior year, I participated in a program called Options Peer Mentors, where I was able to mentor younger students at our school who had learning disabilities. I came to find out that I would be teaching someone named Ashley and that I would be attending and assisting her in her Biology class—you guessed it—with Mr. Montali! This was exciting because I got to have another class with him as a senior an4d I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, the second time around. And to make this story even better - Mr. Montali was also a Bruin and always called UCLA the ‘Harvard of the West.’”

- Nicole T. 4th Economics Major and Accounting Minor at UCLA, All Subjects Tutor

I took a class at UCLA in my second year where the enrollment was extremely low meaning that I sat across a conference room table from my professor with 5 other students in the room. It was the closest I have ever been to a professor, and it was astounding to see how much these professors have learned and are able to share with a class. The intimate setting and personal environment really engaged me in the content, and I think I learned more practical information about my research lab in that one quarter than I did in my entire first four quarters combined. It was amazing.”

- Grant H. 3rd Year Material Sciences and Engineering Major at UCLA, Math and Science Tutor

“My favorite teacher I have had so far is my seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Kraft. She built a deep relationship with each and every one of her students, and truly wanted all of her students to succeed. She made sure her classes were informative, while also making sure the material was engaging and enjoyable. To this day, I remember her lessons and I still use her writing techniques on my college papers.”

- Brailey P. 3rd Year Communications Major at UCLA, All Subjects Tutor

“My favorite teacher was Carlos Caldwell. Every single day he let me [visit] his classroom and talk about politics and the world, and somewhere along the way he turned me into the global scholar I am today. He helped me learn to use my voice and decide what I want to use it for.”