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Why Teachers Are So Influential in the Choices Young People Make

Posted by on March 7, 2016

teacherWe take for granted the massive impact teachers have on students–but we shouldn’t. Now and then, we need to consider exactly what it is that teachers do so well that changes the lives of learners young and old.

AATT contributor, Sara Stringer, has written a great article that summarizes five of the most important reasons:

Teachers play a critical role in the lives of the students they teach. It’s one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, jobs because of the profound impact teachers can have on students.

Just about everyone has a story of their favorite teacher. That one educator that they really clicked with and that had a lasting influence even years later. Teachers are entrusted with helping to guide children and teens down the right paths for this very reason.

They sway the choices that young people make and not just because they are an authority figure. Often times it’s actually because of the traits that they possess and the unique position that their job affords them.

Teachers Are in a Position to Catch Problems Early On

Teachers interact with kids and teenagers as much as parents in many cases. They also watch kids interact with each other more than almost any other adult. This puts teachers in a unique position to recognize problems early on so that they can hopefully be corrected before they get worse.

There’s almost no bigger concern when it comes to kids than the use of drugs and alcohol. The experts at, an addiction treatment center for men, note that teachers can play an important role is steering students and/or their parents in the right direction for getting help. The sooner kids receive intervention and treatment the better the outcome typically is.

It’s not just a matter of their grades, although high school dropouts are much more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. The Center for Disease Control reports that there are 4,300 alcohol-related deaths involving underage drinkers each year.

muslim arabic children with teacher at schoolTeachers Are in a Position of Trust

Kids see teachers as adults that they can trust and confide in. Many kids are too scared or embarrassed to discuss certain topics with their parents. But when they need an adult perspective, many students know they can turn to a teacher.

This trust comes from the fact that most students recognize teachers are looking out for their best interest. They know that teachers care about them and their future. Young kids, in particular, see teachers in the same light that they see their parents insofar as teachers are nurturing individuals that can keep them safe.

Students know that they can count on their teachers to give them sound advice on just about every topic. It also helps that students know teachers deal with their peers on a daily basis and this experience being around kids can help them relate to what kids are going through.

Their Enthusiasm for Learning Can Be Infectious

New studies are coming out that show the quality of the teacher does have an impact on student achievement. How hard a student decides to strive can be directly affected by the effort that is put in by their teachers. Long-term research by expert Eric Hanushek has shown that students with quality teachers learn three times more. This is factoring in all the other variables like classroom size and resources. The increase in learning also isn’t dependent on the student’s past academic performance. These quality teachers make a huge impact and inspire their students to learn.

Teachers Are Good Communicators

Many teachers are excellent communicators, especially when it comes to communicating with kids. The job description requires relaying information and adapting to different types of communication styles. This gives them the ability to get a point across effectively whenever they are talking with students.

Teachers Are Natural Leaders

Teaching is a profession that’s all about leading. They’re the captains at the helm of the classroom, guiding their students through various courses. Programs like Teach to Lead also highlight that teachers are involved community members that are helping to make changes in and out of their schools.

Kids react to strong leadership and are motivated by it. They want and need good leaders to guide them through adolescence. Teachers set an example for their students. Whether it’s teaching them to be respectful digital citizens or how to graciously handle the college admissions process, the leadership of a teacher will be reflected in the choices that students make.

Great teachers aren’t necessarily the ones that have attained the highest degrees or certifications. They are the ones that make the biggest impact on their students and help them make good choices in life, both in and out of the classroom.

Bio: Sara Stringer is a former medical and surgical assistant who now does freelance business consulting. She enjoys blogging and helping others. In her spare time (translation: the time spent doing what’s most important), she enjoys soaking up the sunshine with her husband and two kids.

More on teachers:

6 Tech Best Practices for New Teachers

5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology

A Day in the Life of a Tech Teacher

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

2 Responses to Why Teachers Are So Influential in the Choices Young People Make

  1. Glynis Jolly

    Jacqui, as I’m sure you’re well aware of, not all teachers have these qualities. I was they did butt… well, you know. The teacher who makes the difference for children is the one who feels his or her job is a passion they cannot do without.

    • Jacqui

      That feeling of passion for learning transfers to the students. That covers a lot of mistakes.

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