A Great Teacher is a Blessing

The hubby and I just attended the last Parent Teachers Conference (PTC) in my son’s school. On the way home, we discussed about our son’s grades and the teachers’ comments on his conduct and effort in school. We acknowledge that we are the teachers’ partners in our child’s education.

What do I do as a parent? I have chosen to be very hands  on with my child’s studies. As early as in pre-school, I made sure that Joshua has a set time for play and study. I did not need to read a  parenting book to know this. I learned it from my own Mom who helped me develop good study habits. Now that Joshua is in grade 1, I control his TV time and even his video games are reserved only for the weekend. I buy him books and educational toys. Just recently, the hubby bought a telescope for Joshua because he wanted to observe the  moon and the stars. I encourage our son to do this because I know that basic astronomy will be taken up in the grade 2 Science class.  This summer, he will take up basketball and, hopefully, some art lessons. I also plan to bring him to an interactive children’s museum in the city.

But I can only do so much as  a parent. His teachers play a crucial role in developing his mind, emphasizing values and discovering his potential talent. Teaching is a noble yet demanding profession. Many are called to be teachers but few are cut out to be greatly revered. Lucky is the child who ends up with a technically proficient teacher. But blessed is the child who has a teacher with the unique ability of knowing each of his students well  beyond the grades in the report card. A passionate teacher who challenges his students yet creates an inspiring, and loving environment for learning deserves admiration.

I was blessed to have been taught by an amazing  Literature teacher in third year high school. I remember her fair skin, and  chinky eyes hidden by atrociously thick glasses. The first thing that I noticed about her was the husky voice and her graceful, swan like neck. English Lit was considered a boring subject in our high school but she made it alluring for a class of clueless 15-year-old girls. I would wake up excited to attend her class, ready to imbibe the beauty of the written word. Yes, she taught us all there is to know about poems, short stories and novels and their authors. But she was not the type who just wants us to pass her subject. She was adamant that we should have fun first in her class. For her, the grades were of secondary importance.

One time, she asked the class to write a short story on any topic. I wrote a  descriptive story about  a family with the mailbox as the narrator.  She gave me a high grade on that one. I floated with happiness on my way home. She wrote frank assessments of my succeeding stories and told me I have a knack for writing.  Read more books, she advised. Write, write, write. Be original.Discover your own style, she egged me on to write.

Because of her  wonderful influence on me, I decided to take up journalism in college. I became a feature writer of the college magazine and a book/play/movie critic of the university’s student publication. I have never really thanked her for mentoring me. Oh sure, I did the perfunctory thanks but I was afraid to say what was in my heart. In my naivety, I thought gushing in front of her might embarrass both of us.

Last year just on a lark I typed her name on Facebook. Lo and behold there she was!  I introduced myself and poured out my long-delayed heartfelt thanks to her. She was pleasantly surprised and, of course, could not remember me. ( That was 40 years ago!) But she was gracious about it and was flattered that I looked her up.

I wish for my son to receive the same blessing that I had. A teacher who has the exceptional gift of making you believe in yourself. 



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