The Influence of Teachers
Each year, October fifth is set aside to remember teachers, whom many have called the most important members of society. Indeed, it if were not for teachers there would be no doctors, nurses, laboratorians, and others. Teachers are the cornerstone of our society, and each of us has been touched in some way by our teachers.
As such, to mark International Teachers’ Day, I would like to tell you about the teacher that influenced my life more than any other: Joseph Daly.
A Caring and Brilliant Academic
Mr Daly was my high school human anatomy and physiology teacher. I was lucky enough to attend a high school that had several honors programs related to the health sciences. Those enrolled in this track took specialized courses to prepare us to pursue medical, dental, and allied health careers at university
Mr Daly held advanced degrees in biology, and could have taught university. Instead, he chose to teach high school courses where he felt he could make the biggest impact on young people.
He was kind yet stern. Caring yet demanding. He was willing to work with any student who needed additional help in the classroom, our guidance outside the classroom. Yet he demanded that once we had been taught, and he had done his best for us, that we perform to a high level on our quizzes, examinations, and oral presentation. In some ways, I both loved and feared Mr Daly. But I don’t think it was so much fear, as respect, and the desire to please him who saw so much potential in me.
Much of what I know about human anatomy and physiology dates to the high school courses I took from Mr Daly. In my senior year, I was fortunate enough to serve as his teaching assistant, which not only forced me to work even harder to know the material, but cemented in me my desire to pursue a career in the health sciences.
In fact, when I left for university, my well-worn three ring binders and spiral notebooks full of notes from Mr Daly’s classes went with me! My survival of the first year as a recipient of a health sciences scholarship was in no small part thanks to the preparation provided by Mr Daly.
A Leader and Humanitarian Outside the Classroom
Outside of the classroom, Mr Daly was involved in his local community as a lay religious leader and also a much sought-after speaker for youth events where he focused on drug and substance abuse avoidance, as well as believing in yourself to achieve your dreams. He was never too busy to talk to his students and graduates, offering life advice, and a friendly ear during times of stress and trial.
Setting my Life Course
Sadly, Mr Daly died many years ago. He was still a young man when he was struck down by Alzheimer’s disease. It was heart breaking to see such an intelligent, articulate man slowly slip into the grip of dementia. And the tragedy is that many more generations of young people could have been guided by him into the health sciences had it not been for his untimely departure.
I remember him with much fondness as the teacher who more than any other is responsible for who I am today, and the career path I have followed. My work in global health and as a medical academic has touched thousands, and by extension so has Mr Daly. And I know I am not alone. He influenced countless others to pursue careers in the healing arts, and as such, his life and legacy live on today.
Remember Your Teachers
So, as we celebrate International Teachers’ Day, why not take a moment to reflect on the teacher who has had the most influence in your life, and then reach out to them to say thank you! I know they would appreciate it.
Want to change the world like Mr Daly?
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We have a wide range of programs to meet your needs, including a premedical program for those who need the pre-requisite courses, our direct-entry MD program, as well as a joint MD/MPH program, all designed to help you become the physicians of tomorrow.