The Yearbook Comment

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When you're a little kid, your teacher is usually seen as a figure of authority, and never really becomes much more than a babysitter who teaches you and 20 other children basic knowledge. When you get to secondary school, teachers are either there because a) they're too qualified to teach elementary school or b) the real world hasn't worked out. That's how I personally saw them anyways. They never actually like their students. My perspective on teachers completely changed when I got to the second half of high school.

A small side story: I had this terrible habit of completely crashing after lunch time. I needed at least a good 20 minutes to sleep everything off, which, horribly for me, always fell right in the middle of my next class after lunch. Most teachers knew me as "that annoying kid who needs to stop thinking I can't see her sleeping behind her textbook". They'd mostly wake me up and ask me a question regarding the readings, to which I would never know the answer and subsequently faced the ordeal of "bullshitting". My English teacher in grade 11 and 12, however, took things a little differently. I would doze off and miss half an act of Macbeth before coming to and pretending I was resting my eyes. I never thought he noticed, until one day, when student presentations were on, he looked dead in my direction and said "No sleeping through presentations, guys. It's important to listen to your peers." My heart skipped a beat and I looked down, my cheeks burning so hot they could melt the sun. I didn't sleep that day, but my mild case of narcolepsy soon took control again. My teacher let it happen, and it became a running gag amongst everybody in my program. On the last day of school, yearbooks were passed out and signed by close friends and teachers. I brought mine to my English teacher, and didn't read his comment until later that night. 

"You are so freaking awesome...wait, I just plagiarized that from [insert person's name who wrote before]! It's been a pleasure watching you fall asleep in my class for the past two years. Good luck with your future studies!"

Until then, I had never realized how much I truly appreciated a teacher who enjoyed teaching and connecting with students as much as my English teacher did. Instead of sending me to detention for the nth time, he made a joke out of it (provided I made up for it with good marks). Teachers are so often stuck with unruly and disgruntled teens (yours truly included), and are greatly under-appreciated. They arguably have one of the toughest jobs that pays the worst, and are so often subjected to criticism by overbearing parents. My English teacher made it a priority to become a figure of authority, but also a friend to all his students. He enjoyed passing down his knowledge of great literature, and has influenced my decision to write in the future, even while pursuing a science degree.  To that I say, thank you!


Created: Apr 22, 2014

Tags: request, non-fiction, prose, story, essay

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