The ‘Mission’ of Being a Professor
The teacher’s mission doesn’t end at the school’s front door. This is true. Some professors are not able to inspire students, while others can influence them so much that they can even change their lives.
Anna Maria Guida and Angelo Marco Rossi are the two teachers that you wish you could have. They make the difference, because they are able to relate to students at every level, expecting the most from them.
With their dedication, they taught us how to look farther than a book or a board.
Anna Maria Guida is a middle school teacher. She used to teach in my little town of Priocca, Italy. She taught literature, history, geography, and Latin. We were only 13 years old, and she treated us as adults. She knew how to be strict with us, giving a lot of homework and a lot of tests in class. The room was very quiet when she was teaching, because we had to listen to her. But every time she was explaining something to us, there was always a life lesson to learn. I remember that one time there was a kind of shoe on the market that became very popular. Everybody was wearing them in our school. And one day, during a test, she underlined that “it doesn’t matter what you are wearing. A person is not good because he or she wears such a kind of shoe. Other things count much more.” Those words are still in my mind and my heart. I will never forget them.
Guida was very similar to Angelo Marco Rossi. He was a philosopher and history professor in the foreign language high school I attended. I was even afraid of him before I met him for the first time. He was considered a kind of “very severe” man that was making students over-worked. That is how he had been described to my classmates and I before we started our first month in that high school.
Whoever portrayed him like that was wrong. Whoever was afraid of him was not able to see what his concept of “education” was. It is true that he was extremely demanding. The first lesson he told us was: “I will be bad with you guys and the tests will be hard.” But behind the word “bad” there was another meaning. “I will do my best to teach you how to open your minds,” he said. And he was right. We had to do a lot a pre-learning reading. He wanted us to come to class knowing the topic already so that we could discuss it. And I could never forget when he used to become kind of upset and nervous: crossing his eyes as he was making sure that we understood what he was explaining because as he used to say, “this is a philosophy life lesson.” He used to speak with every single student privately to make sure that he or she was feeling comfortable. He cared a lot about us.
What makes a good professor is not the number of words that he knows, but how he or she teaches you to open your eyes and mind. #