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.”

- Mirabai V. 1st Year Communications and Political Science Double Major at UCLA, All Subjects Tutor

“My favorite teacher is named Mr. Javier. I was his student tutor for two years and the thing that made me always want to come back to his class is that he never just taught english—he taught his students how to be good and empathetic people. He was never afraid to call us out because his expectations for us were both clear and high. He truly changed and fostered my love for english.”

- Faith N. 1st Year English Major, Humanities Tutor

As tutors at Ignite, we aim to have this type of impact on our tutees: we not only want to see success in their class grades but also character building and confidence within themselves to create an impact on their futures and the world. We believe that every child has the opportunity to succeed in any degree given that they have positive reinforcement. We hope tutees will be able to look up to our UCLA undergraduate students and potentially see a future path ahead of them!

Teachers are often the number one supporters of your student’s success: they are their cheerleaders for academic success inside and outside the classroom. Having these types of supporters is vital to all students: your biggest fans push you to reach far and beyond what you previously envisioned. Teachers can open up new areas and allow students to see their true potential, and often can hold up students when they’re at their lows. It is this type of positive sportsmanship that has inspired many of our tutors to work so hard with their tutees. As a result, a strong network of powerful academic minds is grown and the education system prospers!

Teachers and mentors are vital to our educational career and beyond; without these teachers, our tutors would never have been inspired to be great tutors and create a positive impact on their local academic community.

This article serves as a thank you to all inspiring, hardworking, and caring teachers in our local community and all over the world!

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