What if they are just as afraid of you?

December 30, 2011 at 11:10 PM 5 comments

Fear. Love.

A very wise person once told me that in the morning before class, she would make a choice between fearing her students or loving them. She didn’t want to fear them. That really sat well with me, and the idea of it found a nice little home in a soft spot of my brain. It has yet to leave, and it seems to work it’s way into other areas of my life as well. I find myself questioning things that I might “fear” and wondering if those are valid fears.

I remember signing up for that first college class. I remember how terrified I was of the building I was walking into just to sign up. I remember bringing my dad alongside me for protection if a dragon tried to breathe fire on me. I cannot tell you how scared I was of the faculty and staff. What if they wouldn’t even let me register because I was homeschooled? Would my transcript and diploma be enough for them? The tingling sensation I felt in my stomach when we approached the registration office made me want to approach the ladies room instead.

I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when the Sign Language class that I had planned to take with a friend was full. I remember knowing that I would have to choose another class to take right then and there, freaking out that I only had a small window of time to decide. Dad suggested that I take an Intro to Art class, but I kept looking at the History of Art class. I have always loved history and art, plus I never got to take a class about art history. It really caught my attention.

I was nervous when Dad wondered why I was adamant about that class. He said, “I thought you would want to take a fun class first.” Was I going in over my head? I didn’t know anything about art history! Not nearly enough to pass a class about it. Then it got worse when I was struggling to find a copy of the edition of the textbook required for the class. Even the lady at the college book store said that they didn’t have it. The company put it on backorder and we wouldn’t get it before class.

The idea of trying to contact my future professor and ask her if I needed a book for the first day made me crazy. I laugh at this now, because I had nothing to be afraid of. This was my preconceived notion of what “real” teachers might be like. Thanks, television and cinema. Thanks, juvenile chapter books (you know who you are, Dolores Umbridge). This was not a valid fear.

As soon as I walked into the classroom, I knew everything would be fine and that my fears were insane. I somehow, rather unconciously, made the decision to love my class and everything about it. The teacher, the other students, the material. I knew I had made the right decision on the class that I had chosen. There was an unexpected warmth in the room. I immediately began searching for the good. Maybe I’m optimistic, but I still feel the validity of the fact that I chose to set aside my fears and love instead.

I got to thinking yesterday morning about all of this and I wondered what would happen if every student could set aside their fears and choose to love their professors, classmates, studies. I wondered what might happen if I could set aside my fear of math, and just appreciate the good things about it. Learn to love it for what it is, instead of trying to change it into something that one former elementary school teacher told me I was bad at. Instead of turning it into the class that could ruin my college career. Maybe I’ll take a math class soon.

Maybe the very same teachers that we fear used to fear some of their own teachers. Maybe if we showed them love instead of fear it would be a little easier for them not to fear us. Not to fear a classroom full of students who won’t show them respect, won’t study, won’t pay attention, will make fun of them in the halls, or will fall asleep in class. Maybe a whole generation of students could change the education system for the better. We all gripe about certain teachers being boring or trying too hard or not being smart enough to teach a subject. Some of us, as hard as we try, might still complain about teachers who are too hard on us. My mom always tells me, “Expect nothing, get nothing.”

If I expect my teachers to be horrible, they will, because that is what I have decided in my mind.

Yes, it is true that some teachers might be psychos who are in this career to do nothing but destroy the lives of children and young adults because it is their sick pleasure but that is few and far between. Most of the time our teachers just want to teach. They just want to open our eyes, minds, hearts, and ears a little bit further. Maybe they want to share an opinion or two. Maybe they are just as afraid of us as we are of them.

I’m going to do my best to continue loving each of my professors. It was easy not to fear most of my childhood teachers since they were parents of friends or my own parents. Maybe that is something I can have as an advantage. Maybe it will help me remember that my teachers have lives and families and friends, and surely they can’t be any more scary than any of my family or friends.

Maybe we’ll start with the classroom, and then we’ll love the world.

Happy Adventures,


Entry filed under: Community, Food For Thought. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

12 hours of staring at a computer. I’ll post tomorrow. I’m doing that stay-up-all-night-to-practice-drawing thing again.

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Candee Basford  |  December 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Wow! I LOVEd reading this. And, I am reminded once again to let go and Love.

    That you are willing to share your writing here, I am grateful.

    • 2. Heather  |  December 31, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Every once in a while a gem will slip into my consciousness and I just can’t stop myself from writing it down. Usually sharing it comes next.

      😉 I’m glad you enjoyed this. Have a WONDERFUL new year!

  • 3. geraintwilton  |  January 1, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    I have to admit, when I started reading your post as a teacher I was thinking about it from my point of view. What a refreshing idea, students and teachers celebrating learning together and loving being together. It may not be fashionable to say so but I love my job, I love it that I get the time to work with all those wonderful young people and I think that some of them at least love it too. I think your post should get to every student. Thank you.

    • 4. Heather  |  January 4, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      The truth, and loving what you do, is always fashionable. 😉

      I also love my job working in a small library, being able to help all sorts of age groups with all sorts of things they might need help with. Many people have said I should consider teaching, but I always tell them that I am too afraid that I will not do well enough and I might ruin someone’s future. Maybe I should try to get over that fear as well, and learn to love myself while I am loving my teachers.

      Thank you for this very honest, very kind comment. I am glad that you started from one point of view about my post and ended somewhere else. That was the idea! If my post gets to even one student I will consider myself blessed. Continue loving your job, and your students. Maybe, if we’re lucky, one of them will see that and might end up getting some thoughts about appreciating their teachers.

  • 5. There is nothing to be afraid of. | A Girl Undiscovered  |  February 23, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    […] So I was reading some old blog posts, and I stumbled across one of my favorite posts: What if they are just as afraid of you? […]


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Heather loves hats that are designed to look like cute animals, fairy wings, cheese pizza, swimming in ponds, roller blading, taking silly self-portraits, learning, spending time with people, and just about everything else too. Heather does not love ... well, there isn't a lot that she doesn't love. You can probably figure it out after a little while!

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