Becoming a teacher was not among my childhood fantasies. However, my primary school principle believed that I would be a good teacher in the future. When I was 11 years old, one day my father and my principle took me to the Malatya Teachers Meetinghouse (Malatya Öğretmenevi). There was a special get together for fathers and daughters. When we took our seats, an elegant and redheaded woman came to talk to us. First she took a look at me and patted my head, then she shook my father’s hand. She said, “This girl is going to complete her education. She is going to become a beneficial citizen of her country and of her nation and she is going to set a good example to other girls.”
I later learned that this person’s name was Türkan Saylan. The day I met her I became a Snow Drop (Kardelen). On that day my principle, my teacher Garip, made a difference in my life. It is said that the best of luck is to come across a good teacher when you are young. After that day I gained a better perspective on becoming a teacher.
I went to Akçadağ Anadolu Teacher Highschool. The school buildings once belonged to one of former Village Institutes (Köy Enstitüsü). The buildings still have long halls. The areas below the stairways are used as chicken coops. With more than 3 thousand dekars (300 hektars) of land used for growing crops, the place is like a village unto itself. During my years there, along with most of the other students, I used to think in anger that our teachers didn’t teach us much and that they made us do everything. Now I know that back then I learned how to be self sufficient in all stages of life and how to take care of myself. Instead of teaching me specifics, my teachers taught me how to learn. That is what makes my teachers venerable.
When I started teaching, I realised that there couldn’t be any other vocation I would have loved more. I embrace my brilliant students that make me feel thankful for having become a teacher.
Taking into heart the words of Mustafa Kemal, “when we show our nation the path to take, let’s benefit from the world’s accumulated knowledge on science, discoveries and development but let’s not forget that essentially the foundation to betterment needs to be constructed from within ourselves”, we must all improve and change individually. The coming generations will be our creation; we must think of science and the human mind as the keys to the future and we must bring up generations that are attached to our county, nation, state, Atatürk’s principles and reforms, the democratic and secular Republic he founded; generations that know every inch of the geography and every moment of the history of our homeland.
I congratulate the Teachers Day of my colleagues and as a very idealist teacher, I end my words with the following thoughts. Each moment we do not learn, produce or share are lost moments. Use your time well and do not waste it.
Aycan Yılmaz was born in Malatya in 1989. She is a Pre-school teacher and loves her vocation very much. She completed her education with a Kardelen scholarship. She is a graduate of the ÇYDD Çanakkale Branch.