There was an art teacher who let a small group of kids hang out in his room at lunch time. It was a sanctuary against the noise, the cold and the general bustle of the school day. It gave an incredibly awkward young man an opportunity to think and talk and breathe. The boy didn’t even do art.
There was a PE teacher who pushed (almost bullied, really) a gangly kid to join the school basketball team. The kid wasn’t brilliant, but for the first time he felt like he belonged to something. The newfound respect and camaraderie helped crack the ice the boy carried within himself.
There was an English teacher who expected so much, that in his class there didn’t seem to be any other option but to strive to do better. He taught as if every single one of the children in front of him had endless potential, no matter where they came from. He made them believe it too.
There was a geography teacher who danced and joked and brought his students out of themselves. There was laughter, and because there was laughter, one of his students stayed, even when they weren’t sure why. And in the staying, there was success.
There was a history teacher who ruled her class with a vice-like grip and the eyes of a hawk. It was these eyes that saw that one of her kids was in a lot of trouble, no matter how much they tried to hide it from everyone. She used her vice-like grip to steady the child, to stop them from falling, until they were able to carry on without her.
It is only now that I realise the effort behind these precious, intangible, transformative gifts that are given by those who teach, to those who are taught.
The kid was me. The teachers were my teachers.
For the gifts that they gave me, I will be forever grateful.