13 TEACHERS I REMEMBER
1. Mrs. L– She was my first grade teacher. I was under her class in Grade 1 in the first school I was enrolled in. She was pregnant that time and very moody. I thought pregnant ladies are no fun.
I didn’t have to put up with the hormone-laden pregnant lady (#1) in the private school as I was transferred to the public school the next year. I vehemently resisted and asked over and over why I had to be transferred. Though I hated teacher #1, I loved that school and the pretty uniform.
2. Mrs. T– As a transferee in the public school, they don’t know where to place me. The school policy did not have any evaluation tests to help place transferees in the right classes. We were drawn at random and I was lucky to be in Mrs. T’s class. Out of 20 classes in grade two, I was in the lower section.
Mrs. T was the first adult aside from my parents who truly believed in me. She included me in the evaluation test for honors although it was not the norm – only pupils from the upper sections get to be evaluated for honors but she believed in me and convinced the principal I had what it takes to go up the stage. And I did!
3. Ms. L – A slender lady with the softest voice. She was single at 40? — well she looked 40 to me that time. I only have vague memory of her maybe because she refused to take me in to join the school band! I loved twirling batons and dreamed of marching in fluffy skirts and white boots but she thought I moved like a boy.
4. Mrs. T2 – The teacher who trusted me with the class keys. I was ordered to open our classroom in the morning and close it after she leaves. She was also the teacher who introduced me to gardening.
5. Mrs. A– In one simple word, horrifying. She had the look that would make you run for cover, if that is not enough, wait till she raises her voice! There was a time when we had to read a fable every single morning and then she would ask for the moral story. That’s when the terrorizing begins. How many 10 year olds can really extract the moral story of an Aesop?
6. Mrs. S – The petite teacher who was sweet as well as very serious. One day, a black cat jumped out of her table drawer and I made a comment that she must be a witch. Of course that was meant as a joke but she took it seriously and almost failed me in her subjects because of that. If not for that cat remark, I feel I deserved a place a little higher than being 3rd in the graduating class of 300.
7. Mr. R– My high school principal and Science class teacher. He made me love Science. Sweet old man died on my birthday before I graduated. He choked on peanuts. What a waste.
8. Mr. and Mrs. F– Husband and wife team who displayed all the things happy married partners should have. Mr. F fondly talks of his wife in his all-boys class and Mrs. F beams everytime she mentions her husband in her English class, especially if the topic is love. They have been married for more than 20 years yet very affectionate as if they’ve just said I do yesterday.
9. Mrs. G – The P.E. teacher who taught me ballroom dancing. It was a requisite that we learn social dancing and she was present in the prom to evaluate us. She once told me, I am a complete opposite of my name because I am not graceful enough.
10. Mr. O – The reason why I didn’t graduate with honors in high school when I should! He handled chemistry and handled it very badly. He had a substitute teacher teaching us the subject for one term and then suddenly appearing during the final exams with questions he made, not the substitute teacher. Almost the entire class failed and I hung with an 84. School rules says a student must not have any grades 85 below to qualify for honors.
I did pretty well on my final year but just because I got an 84 in Chemistry the year before, I was automatically disqualified.
11. Ms. S– The dainty single lady of the high school faculty. She handled Values Education and dealt with my lack of values in her class. She was the first teacher (the last also!) to send me to the guidance counsellor for throwing crumpled a paper across the room. In the crumpled paper, I wrote a boy classmate’s name and passed it on to my friend sitting a few meters from me. Ms. Salvador caught the paper and read it to the whole class.
Ms. Salvador suffered from a kidney disease and died at a very young age, a few years after I graduated from high school.
12. Mrs. A2– My best Math teacher ever. Math is my waterloo but she showed me the way to keep my screws intact.
13. Mrs. A3 – My English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare and the wonder world of English literature. She was also the school newspaper’s moderator and pleasing her during journalism seminars is like pleasing the Gods. She motivates people and shower you with praises if she likes you but if she doesn’t, expect spears thrown at you.