What a teacher can’t do

I know many people have this mentality that a teacher can do a lot of things. A teacher can teach, of course! (but not all teachers are good teachers). A teacher can motivate and inspire. A teacher can guide and advise. Basically, a teacher is so important in building the new generation. I actually get into the teaching profession, thinking it can allow me to do so much and make a difference. Yes, I still believe it’s all true but recently I started to see things differently.

I began to realize that there are simply many things a teacher can’t do. This new thought actually came to me after seeing one of my students whose behaviour has changed. She’s under my private tutoring group where I work as a volunteer tutor and although I only see her once a week, I could see a drastic change in her recently. I still don’t know what exactly happened to her but I do feel concerned but at the same time helpless. Here’s why I started to think what I can’t do.

  • A teacher simply can’t help a student who doesn’t want to be helped. When someone doesn’t want your advice or opinion, no matter what you say makes no difference.
  • A teacher can’t interfere with family issues. I know we can be an adviser or a counsellor but no matter what we can advise, if family members don’t rectify the issues that affect the students, nothing we outsiders can do. As a teacher is not a trained counsellor by profession, I don’t think we actually qualify to counsel much anyway.
  • A teacher can’t simply give advice based on own experience. I know it’s useful to share experience in the hope that your students don’t make your same mistakes. However, it’s simply not the same. We are not in their shoes to go through their emotional dilemmas, so we can’t assume our experience will work for them.
  • A teacher can’t give advice when not being asked. I believe this generation of students wish to keep their privacy from the teachers so they basically don’t want us to know much, even though we get to know somehow. So giving good advice when students don’t ask from you will turn your good deed to a bad one.

Do you think there are more things that we, teachers can’t do? Please share with me and we can learn together.

Anyway, I strongly believe a teacher can’t give up. If students need us, we will always be there to support them the best way we can. That’s what I still believe a teacher can make a difference.

[Note: This post was written one night when I suddenly got the idea while driving after the tuition class. I didn’t want to lose the idea so I wrote it in Google Keep right after I reached home. I thought this post is good for sharing.]


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