Who said that teachers are only in it for the money? Who said that teachers don’t care about their students? Who said that white teachers are racists? Who said that computers can replace teachers?

Well guess what? Not all teachers are like that. As I’m in a white school, there are only white teachers. The majority of students are white and coloureds. Some of us coloured students think that the teachers are racists. I don’t blame them, because I also thought like that. Until something happened. Until I got 34% for my History test where as I usually get a minimum of 80%.

I told my History teacher that I just couldn’t remember my work. She sympathised with me. I didn’t tell her so she could pity me. I didn’t tell her because I wanted a second chance. I told her because I didn’t want her to think badly about me, to think I didn’t study. What I didn’t tell her was my internal battles, my pain.

A few weeks later I got 20% for my Maths test. I don’t usually get such a low percentage. That is unlike me. My Maths teacher is very strict. She asked me, “Is daar fout? Jou toets is daarmee heen (Is something wrong? Your test went down the drain).”

I just responded, “Ek het vir n ander toets geleer (I studied for another test).”

Which wasn’t a lie. In that same week she asked the class what subject we were going to write the following day and they said History.

Then she told the class that I said I already wrote History. Everybody looked at me like I was lying. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. She asked me again if I wrote History and I replied, “Nee, ek sal juffrou aan die einde van die periode vertel (No, but I’ll tell you what happened at the end of the period).”

When the bell rang, I showed her my story Love and Hate, which I wrote for Fundza. She asked me about it and I told her about my situation and then my tears fell.

I don’t cry in font of people, and I certainly didn’t want to cry in front of my Maths teacher. You see, I don’t want people to pity me, I don’t want to be weak in front of people. But every time I talk about my situation, I cry, because I’m in pain, because my situation is hurting me, because my situation is weakening me day by day.

My Maths teacher spoke to me for a while and comforted me. She advised me to talk to my Business Studies teacher because she was trained for handling such cases, and she made an appointment with my Business Studies teacher for me.

Friday I finally gathered the courage to talk to my Business Studies teacher. I told her everything; the pain, the hate, the suffering, the suicidal thoughts, literally everything.

We spoke for a while and she told me, “Jys spesiaal Kaylin. Jyt baie positiewe eienskappe, fokus op dit. Jys volwasse want jy kom deur baie uitdagings en jyt nie soos n kindjie daarop reageer (You are special Kaylin. You have many positive attributes, focus on those. You’re so mature because you didn’t react like a child when you went through so many hardships.)”

That conversation made me feel a bit better.

Now those three teachers changed my mind-set about teachers.

I think it’s about time that we as students see the worth of our teachers, it’s about time that we appreciate our teachers and last but not least, we should respect our teachers.

I demand respect for teachers who do care! I demand respect for teachers who uplift their students. I demand respect for teachers who are not only in this industry for the money.

Teachers do matter.


Tell us: Do you agree that teachers do play an important role in our lives?