Hello people of the Universe !
You may already know how much learning is important to me. I love books, I love listening to passionate people, I love highlighting in pink, yellow and green my lessons of Psychology. I am a questioning mind, I am often involved in debates. I remember once a girl in my class say : “You don’t speak often but when you do, it is very interesting.” I think it is my way to share with people and be true to them and to myself. What is more personal than your own musings?
So you won’t be surprised to read that I am fascinated by teachers. In this article, I will only concentrate on people who work as teachers, not role models you meet randomly in your life and enrich it by magic. There is a lot to say about that, too.
Before writing this article, I had made a list — high-five for lists lovers! — of all the teachers that influenced me. I ended up with 4 or 5, all with compelling stories to tell, and I chose to start with the most important one… until I realized she was the only one who really matters today. I could tell more about my ancient Greek teacher and the weird interest I had in her while most of students hated her. I could present my hispanic literature teacher and my hispanic history teacher who were like two mothers for all of my class. I even assisted to my hispanic history teacher’s wedding and I keep preciously a poem of Rubén Darío in a notebook because of the magnificent rhythm of its verses. But among all, the only one who still hits my mind is my history teacher.
Yo persigo una forma que no encuentra mi estilo,
botón de pensamiento que busca ser la rosa;
se anuncia con un beso que en mis labios se posa
el abrazo imposible de la Venus de Milo.
Adornan verdes palmas el blanco peristilo;
los astros me han predicho la visión de la Diosa;
y en mi alma reposa la luz como reposa
el ave de la luna sobre un lago tranquilo
Y no hallo sino la palabra que huye,
la iniciación melódica que de la flauta fluye*
y la barca del sueño que en el espacio boga;
y bajo la ventana de mi Bella-Durmiente,
el sollozo continuo del chorro de la fuente
y el cuello del gran cisne blanco que me interroga.
*Read this verse again and again until you feel like you are on a barque… don’t you feel the flowing, up-and-down movement of water?
❀ My history teacher, Ms. C. (now Mrs. F.)
If I had to remember only one teacher, I would picture her. I don’t think she is the usual kind of teacher you remember your whole life. She is discreet, wise, sweet, small and thin. You don’t notice her at first sight and even when you do, you only see a lovely woman who stays in the background. I do love looking at people and try to understand who they really are, and I think her gestures and her words helped me to see deeper into her soul. She seems to be worried. About her future, about her students. She feels very concerned and she cares a lot.
When I was 14, I was not good in history. I found it difficult to explain texts or paintings or cartoons, and I couldn’t figure the questions out. But I enjoyed being in her class and I enjoyed learning about Middle Ages. She knew that and she tried to understand why I couldn’t reach the top grades. She gave me advice, she begged me to stop rewriting my lessons — if you are a perfectionist, you relate to my struggle, right ? — and she never told me I couldn’t make it. My father is the children of two teachers, meaning that school is the most important to him. According to him, I had good capacities, I had to succeed in history class. It only was a question of memory for him, it was much more complicated for me. After a nth bad grade, I cried. I was disappointed, I was sad, I was frustrated because even studying for hours wasn’t enough. She came to me and started to speak to me and show me all the good in my paper. She cheered me up and asked if I wanted her to call my dad to have an explanation. I said no, but it is the thought that counts and it has never left me. Why? Because a year after, my parents divorced. And it was the happiness time of my life. Yes, you read right, I was tremendously happy. My dad was retired and always home, so he was grumpy and I saw that my mom couldn’t support to stay in the house anymore. Without going too into details because it is their story, my mom likes being surrounded by people, my dad doesn’t. My mom likes going out sometimes, my dad doesn’t. She felt confined, she needed to open the door. And, oh, the fresh air was a good sensation to me too. But I am a very anxious person and Mrs. F. understood that. She knew me, I think. At least enough so that I could trust her. At some point, months after the divorce, I started wondering what it meant in reality, if my relationships would follow the pattern of my parents… She listened to me. Nothing more, but definitely nothing less.
I still have something to add about my teacher. She was/is passionate by history and she has passed something down to me: the importance of women in History. Now that I think of it, she was certainly the first feminist I had ever met. In an optional class, she decided to work on women, and especially resistance fighters, during the Second World War. And I felt in love. It was the first time my studies deeply interested me! I made researches, I read testimonies, I bought books… I was fascinated by their impacts during the war and how they took risks, survived and spread their stories even today. How many of them had to become Boule de Suif*? How many of them lost their life? How many of them are and will remain unknown? I couldn’t tell and I felt helpless. Thanks to her, I became more and more interested in the wars and especially the second one because of my love for psychology and sociology, and because of my family’s story as you can read here and here. She is the one who made us watch Night and Fog and told us to leave the classroom if we couldn’t support the documentary.
I lived many first times with her, I can’t thank her enough for that. I got better grades during the last years of high school and I reached the top. She wasn’t my teacher anymore, but when I got my diploma I immediatly ran into her to tell my grade: 19/20. I was proud. She smiled. All was for the best in the best of all worlds.
*Boule de Suif was a prostitute in a novel of Maupassant (19th). She had to sleep with a Prussian officer to save travellers that despised her. The story is all about the notions of virtue, sacrifice and respect.
What I want to remember from my teachers is their passion, their patience and their teaching skills. They were able to listen, give advice and pass their knowledges down. Not all of them, of course, but let’s try not to picture those who break us down and concentrate on those who cheer you up. I hope to use these qualities to educate my children if I have ones, to share with friends and to, who knows, teach one day. Being a teacher has always been one of the most important, powerful job you could ever have. Knowledges are made to be discussed, to participate in their evolution, to simply open your mind and your heart to the world that surrounds you and appreciate it with all your senses.
Ps. Check Grok Nation’s article out, you will find another story, another point of view, another inspiration.