8 Unforgettable Non-academic Lessons I Learned from My Teachers

Donnabeth Aniban
6 min readJul 20, 2022
Photo by Raghav Modi on Unsplash

They inspire you, they entertain you, and you end up learning a ton even when you don’t know it— Nicholas Sparks

Is there something your teacher said or did that you remember until now? I’m sure there is at least one. I have many. Not all are good, but they’re all lessons nevertheless.

Here are some of my most memorable good ones.

You can do better than this! — Research and Chemistry Teacher, Third Year High School

This was exactly how she wrote it, in red ink. She wrote this on the front page of my research proposal. Even if the statement was not voiced out and there was no matching facial expression, it made a lasting impact.

The six words and an exclamation point conveyed a meaningful message to me. It said I had the potential to do excellent work. It said I can improve. It said the teacher believed in me.

So I believed I could do better. I tell it to myself when I’m tempted to be lazy. I make it my mantra so I don’t settle for mediocre work. I also copied it and wrote the same statement to some of my students’ work. I hope they remember it too. They can always do better.

Be like a lotus. — Music Teacher, First Year High School

She said a lotus remains pure and beautiful even when it’s growing in murky water. It doesn’t let pollution destroy its beauty.

The lesson was memorable for me because she lives it. She’s beautiful, graceful, and excellent in her work. She teaches different subjects, coaches gymnastics, and takes care of her family but I never saw her lose control. She moved calmly. I know it wasn’t because her life was easy, she just didn’t let the murky surroundings get inside of her.

A lotus flower. Photo captured by the author in Koh Kret, Thailand

Anticipate. — Clinical Instructor, Fourth Year College

He taught us this lesson inside the operating room. He said that the OR instruments were our toys and anticipation was the name of the game. He encouraged us to anticipate what instrument will the doctor be needing next. We have to master the sequence…

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Donnabeth Aniban

Mom since 2011. Filipino. Former nurse and teacher. Writer and entrepreneur atm. I write mostly about life, business, health, productivity, and motherhood.