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Heroes Without Capes: Remembering the teachers who made a difference in our lives

Let’s admit it: we all have our favorite teachers whom we’ll always remember for the rest of our lives. They could be the “terror” one who’s very strict in class, yet always finds way to show compassion for their students. Or they could be the “cool and easy” type who jokes around with students yet never fails to encourage them to pursue their dreams. Or perhaps, a professor who gives assignment after assignment, yet is lenient with the deadline.

No matter what kind of teacher they are, when they leave a positive impact on students, then they become remarkable enough to instill life lessons that can’t be taught within the four corners of a classroom.

In time for World Teachers’ Day, we want to ask: how do people remember their favorite teachers?

POP! interviewed a number of people and asked them about their favorite teachers, and their favorite memories of them and with them. Read on to see what they have to say:

Igniting the students’ spark to learn

via Pixabay/Pexels

“My stenographer teacher in college is my favorite! She was a little older back then, and she would always forget my name. But despite that, she showed eagerness to teach me about the subject, and that sparked my eagerness to learn as well. I was even awarded as ‘Best in Stenography’ in class!” – Bunny, Government Employee

“Dr. O is one of my favorite teachers. He’s an exceptional educator, more than passionate about what he’s doing, humble, understanding, witty, and inclusive. His drive when it comes to teaching inspired me to push further when it comes to my studies. I look up to him, not because of his expertise, but because he pushed me to perform competently, adapt to my surroundings, and be more understanding and compassionate to the challenges faced by students.” – Light, Working Student


Encouraging to take risks and break boundaries

via Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

“My favorite teacher is Ms. Joanna because she’s kind and understanding. Not only that, but she also encouraged us to take risks. One time in class, she even pushed me to talk in class since she knew I had more advanced knowledge of computers and programming. She made an impact on my life by showing me that sometimes in life, we have to take risks and get ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to succeed.” – Edd, Government Employee

“I have a lot of favorites especially in 9th grade because our teachers really were top notch but one teacher, in particular, is my favorite—Mr. Gen, our English teacher. As a young gay teen, I really saw myself in him, as I also aspired to be smart and eloquent just like him. He instantly became my favorite because I connected with his personality. During that time, there were numerous students who were having a hard time expressing themselves in English, solely because of the humiliation and fear of making mistakes. But he made the class speak their thoughts freely, especially during discussions. He really made an impact in my life because 9th grade was my breakthrough year–it was when I began to embrace who I really am, on top of acing his class. He continues to inspire me to break boundaries and stereotypes, proving that the queer community has so much to offer.” – Jesnhile, Student

Being a good role model

via Canva

“I still remember my teacher in high school, her name was Mrs. Luningning. She was my favorite among my teachers, mostly because we had bonded with her during one of our Christmas Parties. The best thing about her was that she taught with all of her heart and she never failed to be a role model by guiding us.” – Dang, Government Employee

Inspiring students to be the best version of themselves 

via iStock

“I’ve had many favorite teachers from elementary up to now in my college years. Back when I was in elementary and junior high, my teachers were all English teachers and they made an impact on me in the sense that they became the bridge for my love of reading, [they] taught me to speak confidently, and [they] created a safe space for me. Now in college, Dr. Clai is my favorite because she brings positive energy when teaching, and doesn’t leave us hanging, most especially during online classes. All of them are nice and truly care about their subject and class. They’re also compassionate and generous in giving passing grades to the class!” – Gayle, Student

“Hands down, my all-time favorite teacher is my science teacher in high school, Ms. Wayne. I can never say enough how excellent she is at what she does. She is able to explain complex topics very well and she does not move forward unless we all fully understand the lessons. She commands attention and her lessons remain practical, much that years after I graduated high school, I still remember many of them. She is intelligent – she knows almost everything about Science – but if it comes to a point when she does not know the answers to our questions, she makes sure to take notes, review them, and share her newfound knowledge with us. She grades objectively on how you perform in her class and has never shown any favoritism over any student. Everyone at school deeply respects her, even the unruly ones. It was as if being an educator has always been her life’s destiny.

I truly mean it when I say that Ms. Wayne made a tremendous impact on me. Beyond teaching about the study of life, she taught us to value all forms of life, especially animals, which have no ability to speak against cruelty done to them. Her ‘Code R.E.I.D. (Respect, Excellence, Integrity, Discipline – named after her favorite actor, James Reid)’ has influenced me to be the best version of myself. I saw in her all the good things that I continuously strive to be, and I always hope to be more like her every day.” – Jay, Writer

“My Psychology professor is my favorite one. He always makes sure that our class will be interactive and fun as much as possible. In fact, his jolliness and enthusiasm are my favorite qualities of him. He is one of the reasons why I keep an open mind to new ideas.” – Kiko, Student

“My 5th-grade science teacher, Mr. Elmer, is my favorite. He’s fun, patient, kind, and understanding. He was always generous when it comes to grades, because he was also a student before becoming a teacher. He knew our struggles in passing a subject, and he didn’t want our efforts to be in vain. That’s the reason why he made sure to be generous in giving grades, and be lenient with deadlines. It’s also because of him that I learned to become more empathetic. I became so mindful and understanding of people’s actions and situations. His kindness is infectious and has motivated me to become a better individual.” – Taki, Student

A love letter to all the teachers out there

via Canva

“To all the teachers out there, thank you so much for your efforts, sacrifices, and love for your students. Thank you for being the second parent to them.” – Dessa, Government Employee

“To our beloved teachers, thank you for making us see the world. Thank you for your efforts in guiding us to become the best version of ourselves. We appreciate you, and we’re not where we are without you. Keep inspiring students!” – Janern, Customer Experience Specialist

“Thanks to all the teachers who have sacrificed their time and strength for their students. Instead of focusing their energy on themselves and families, they still prioritize their students.” – Sarah, Government Employee

“Thank you for being our world-changers. You are more powerful than you think you are: you can shape minds, you can lift spirits, and you can touch hearts. You deserve to be celebrated every day for all that you do for this generation and the rest to come.” – Jay, Writer

“Happy Teachers’ day! Thank you for inspiring and teaching us. As we celebrate Teachers’ day, may we be reminded that as educators, we must be adaptive, inclusive, and understanding. May we never forget that we are not just teaching our students, but we are also honing them to become better individuals. May we always have the grit to teach the next generation.” – Light, Working Student

“My heartfelt and sincerest gratitude for shaping us into the persons that we are right now. As cliché as it may sound, you became our second parents as you are not just there to do your jobs, but you’re making significant changes to our lives. Indeed, our modern heroes deserve so much recognition and must be well-compensated.” – Jesnhile, Student

To all the teachers and mentors out there, happy World Teachers’ Day! Thank you for being an inspiration to us. Here’s to celebrating you!

Do you have any messages for your favorite teachers? Share them with us by commenting below. Don’t forget to shower them with love and appreciation!

The interviewees’ responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.


Other POP! stories that you might like:

Celebrating World Teachers’ Day amid the pandemic crisis

Teachers help mom who gave birth to baby in school restroom

The future of Philippine live theater, post-pandemic

51Talk celebrates Teachers’ Day with the biggest virtual gathering of Online Teachers


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