Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
Even though this was the prompt for January 8, I’d like to answer. Hold your horses, though. This is quite a long story, since I’ve known this teacher ever since she first started teaching in my school.
I’ve never really tried to be a teacher’s pet. Either teachers like me, or they don’t. But still, I must point this out: it’s a ridiculous label. If you asked me to tell you the difference between being a teacher’s pet and appreciating a teacher’s influence, well, long story short, I can’t tell you.
But, I can say that it’s a name people often use for me behind my back. I can tell by the way people look at me with an amused look in their eyes at the mention of a certain teacher. I can tell, because people tease me about it sometimes. They can’t even begin to understand.
When I was nine, I had this teacher. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll just say this: her name was Ms. A (although I didn’t and still don’t call her that) and she was my teacher in Language. I was in third grade and now, I like to describe it as the year I discovered that I was capable of doing things. A lot of things.
I have always been fond of stories. Reading them, at least. But not a single thought about writing them entered my mind. My self-confidence at that time, you see, was nothing to be proud of.
So back to third grade. One quarter, I got a 100 in her subject. A perfect grade – me? As far as I knew, I was an ordinary girl with ordinary grades and an ordinary life. I couldn’t believe it. But it was real. It was my first taste of extraordinary. So with that grade and some encouragement, I began to write stories and poems, just for fun.
Everything comes to a close. I entered fourth grade and even though Ms. A wasn’t my teacher anymore, I still saw her every week. She would supervise her students on Thursdays, so I would just stay in the side and talk to her while her second-graders ran around and made a lot of noise. It certainly beat playing outside with my own friends, which is something I’ve never really been fond of doing.
Fast forward to two years later. By the time I entered sixth grade, I’d already developed my writing into something that could be considered pretty close to decent. Ms. A was assigned to teach intermediate levels, so one Tuesday, I happened to walked by her while she was supervising. I stopped right in my tracks and started talking to her, which was very typical of me. I’ve always enjoyed talking to teachers. No matter who the teacher is, you always end up learning something.
Anyway, I began to understand gradually why people say that teachers are your second mothers. I would ask her to read my stories and give me advice on how to improve. She would tell me about her students and introduce me to them (and vice versa). A few weeks after I turned twelve, she asked me when my birthday was and when I told her, she brought me to the canteen. Despite all my protests, she bought me a cookie. “I know I don’t have to,” she said. “But I want to.” Shortly after, I discovered that she did that for every student. I don’t know if she still does that, but that was when I realized how much she really loved her students.
At the end of the year, my batch was forced to graduate because of a law that was imposed on us. We rushed through our lessons and soon after that we started graduation practice. It was tedious and boring. Around ninety percent of our practices involved us being shouted at by someone.
In the end, it was worthwhile. When I received my diploma, she was there watching. I don’t think my year would have been complete if she wasn’t there. It gave me some closure, some hint of finality. It only seemed right, after all, that she, the teacher who watched me grow into the person I am now, was there.
I’ve had a couple of really great teachers. But I’ll never forget Ms. A. She didn’t just teach me the inner workings of grammar, but also the inner workings of life. She inspired me, and I have her to thank for who I am now.