How Teacher-to-student Can Become Human-to-human!A story of how my teacher became so much more than a teacher!
(PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ IT! I KNOW IT'S LONG BUT HOPEFULLY IT'S WORTH IT :D)
I am a sixteen year old female who recently left hospital after being very ill for two months. It was a life changing experience for me as you would imagine. When I arrived back at school I was way out of my comfort zone. My old normal didn't exist anymore and I had to develop a new 'normal'...and then I found out that my best friend's mum was going to be my English teacher for next year. I was so thrilled because she was there for me when I was sick and she knew me. I was familiar with her. She was the only teacher who knew exacty what had happened in the hospital. A week after I had orientation classes with her the coordinators pulled me out of her class. It felt like everytime I began to get comfortable, someone goes and changes the rules on me. I just wanted to share the experience I had with my teacher and how I feel about everything she's done for me in such a short amount of time.
A few days after I was pulled out of her class I was given a new timetable. My friends were also taken out of the class but got straight back into it on the same day. I had made six attempts in two days and I was pushed aside. It meant so much to me to have that sort of comfort available from her for the rest of the year. They gave me the best outcome possible and then took it away from me. I was so furious at how ignorant they were towards my begging and pleading with them to understand why it was so important for me to have that security. Instead of following my new timetable I went to my other teachers class instead and told her that they had let me back in even though they hadn't. Here is the story...
The day I was in her class when I wasn’t supposed to be, two minutes after I walked in and lied to her face she asked “Why are you upset!? You’re in my class again!”. I felt like screaming “NO that’s the thing…I’M NOT…but I so desperately want to be. I want you to teach me, I want you to lecture me, I want you to notice when I’m sad, I want you to watch me cry and hug the tears away” But I just quickly responded with “We’re not! We’re happy….” as my other friend glanced at me with those eyes as if to say “I’m so sorry you have to lie about being here while I have the right”. It was so difficult to look happy in her class. I thought going to her class would make me feel better, would comfort me, but it didn’t …until the end. The whole time I wanted to scream at her “I’m not in your class”. But I had to wait for a whole 100 minutes or more anxiously twiddling my toes while attempting to pay attention to the lesson she had outlined. Less than halfway through she was onto me saying “Stop looking so serious”. I just laughed it off and said ‘Sorry, I can’t help it”. And then she was talking about conflicts and describing everything I went through that week while trying to get back into her class. Everything she was saying sounded so much like my conflicts with the coordinators! Both friends looked at me as she was speaking about it and giggled as I turned my head away failing to keep a straight face which indicated to Miss that something had happened. I suppose because she was talking about conflicts and the girls both looked straight at me she figured we recently had a fight. In fact at the end of the lesson she asked me that. Of course after the bell had gone I knew it was time to tell her. So I partially sat on the table holding my blazer in my arms for comfort with a smirk on my face as she told the girls how happy she was to have us all in her class. The two of them looked at me again as if to say “well…not all of us” and of course she picked up on it straight away. She said “what’s wrong- I talk too much don’t I?”. (I think she was trying to be funny and lighten the mood) “No, Nothing” I responded with the smirk still painted firmly on my face. “You have something to tell me!” She knew there was something. I just shook my head quickly to indicate that I did indeed have something to tell her. I looked at my friends as they waited by the door and told them they could leave without me. “What’s wrong?” She asked me. “Did you have a fight with your friends”. “No.” She kept throwing ideas my way about what might be wrong. “No, no nothing like that” I said in almost a whisper as my eyes starting welling up with tears. “Well what is it? Tell me.” I looked at her right in the eyes so ashamed that I lied to her wondering what her reaction would be. I focused on the blue colour that lined her eyes for a while before answering her. “They won’t let me back in your class.” That’s when she gasped in shock and covered her mouth with both of her hands as if to say “I can’t believe it” “The others got in straight away but they just won’t let me back in.” She gasped again “You weren’t meant to be here” she said as she pointed to the floor. I shook my head. “Oh my god…You’re so sneaky” she said. “I wasn’t trying to be” I assured her. “I was just trying to prove a point”. She was so worried about the consequences. “They’re not happy, are they?”. I assume she was referring to the coordinators. “No they don’t know anything. To them I’m just another student trying to change their subjects around.” “Okay, look, here’s what we’re gunna do” she said as she held my hand in both of hers. I was so flattered by her determination to get me back in her class. And what struck me is when she said ‘we’. As if she was letting me know that I was not fighting this battle alone. She was prepared to stick by me and get through it ‘together’. She could have just brushed me off and said ‘too bad’ but she didn’t. She was determined. And I was lucky to have her. “You’re going to get your mum to call the school. Tell them you’re stressed and you need to have stability. Tell them that Miss didn’t know you weren’t meant to be in her class” I cut her off “I don’t want to tell Mum”. “You have to” she replied quickly. “I don’t want t----“You HAVE to! It’s the only way you’ve got a chance. Alright?.” I sighed. ”Parents make all the difference, trust me”. ‘I trust you’ I thought. My eyes worsened as my vision began to go blurry from the liquid growing and sinking into the corners of my eyes. By this point I had lowered my head to hide the tears in my eyes. “Don’t get upset” she said as she lowered her head to become closer to mine. “No I’m not…I just—“ I couldn’t talk anymore! “What? What is it?” I just shook my head. “Tell me” She insisted. I continued to shake my head. “You know I’m gunna get it out of you. Just tell me now.” After continuously shaking my head I raised my head in an attempt to show her I was okay only to find out that my eyes were becoming more red and that I should have continued to hide my flustered face. I felt awkward almost crying in front of a teacher. So I continued with a slight smirk on my face to hold in the tears and waved my hands across my face and said “You’re gunna make me cry” as a tear had finally released itself, running down to my neck. “Well you’re already crying now so you mine as tell me”. I began sniffling as I lost control of the tears flowing. I was also more concerned about ruining my eyeliner so I gently dabbed the corners of my eyes in silence while she continued in an almost nagging tone for me to tell her. Somehow I managed to fix a sentence and inform her “It’s not just that I’m not in your class. It’s just-“ “It’s what. Tell me what it is?” I couldn’t do it. I began crying uncontrollably as I tried to answer her with ‘one worded responses’. “Don’t cry. You’re too pretty to cry” I raised my head again. “It kind of… relates back to the hospital” I finally said as quickly as I could before another tear broke. “and…things….changing” I said with a long pause between each word. She understood. “You go home and you get Mum to call them. But listen…if you don’t have me next year don’t let it drag you down. Miss *** is a really lovely lady. She’s probably an even better teacher than me..” “No” I accidently said aloud as I shook from left to right. ‘That’s not possible’ I thought. She kept on reassuring me and tried to make me feel better. She took my books from the table and touched my arm as we headed for the door. I was so overwhelmed by her response that every motivational thing she was saying as we walked towards the door became a blur. Once we stopped to face each other at the door she said “Give me a look” referring to the damage I’d done to my make-up after flooding it with tears. Going from my right eye to my left she smiled and said “good!” She opened the door and continued talking as some girls blocking our way out scattered off. Whatever she was saying had very little of my attention because I began reflecting on the comfort she’d given me after I laid all of my tears onto her. She walked me to the staffroom, still carrying my books, as half way we were interrupted by a student who wanted her school email. As she had to place her attention to him while he recorded her email we had stopped walking but she placed her hand on my arm making sure I was still there as if to say “Don’t worry..I’m still here. Don’t leave”. The whole time she was talking to the student she kept on looking back at me to assure me her attention was still focused on us, as if her holding me wasn’t enough reassurance for her that I was still there! Haha. Once the student had gone away she continued talking. I looked around to see if anyone I knew was watching. Or to see if another teacher saw us. I was so busy looking around that I still have no idea what she said. Once we were almost at the staffroom door we had stopped. She looked me in the eyes and just told me to stay strong. She eventually stopped talking and we had our moment. She gazed at me in the eyes for what felt like a long time before she said “I love you” in the most sincere tone. That moment made me realise how serious and open she was to ‘being there for me’ and having a special relationship. I was so flattered that I didn’t know if replying with the same comment would be ‘too much’ for a teacher student relationship. So I just said “Thank you”. Looking back at that now I’m so embarrassed that all I had to say was ‘thank you’ I felt so bad that this woman had opened up her heart and I couldn’t even gain the courage to tell her “I love you too”. I know now that it wouldn’t have been too much and it would have been quite appropriate for the time. Hopefully she thought that the ‘thank you’ was a response to her listening to me and not a ‘thank you’ in response to her ‘I love you’. Either way she still had a smile on her face and continued to offer that internal strength by embracing me in a much needed hug. She was talking throughout that hug as well but it all went in one ear and out the other as I was too flattered by all of this comfort. I didn’t care who was watching and who was wondering why a teacher was embracing in such a hug with a student. She looked at me again and told me to 'hang in there'. Before we parted she held me by the waist and leaned her head on mine as we were side by side. For me…this moment was symbolic. There were no longer all of these barriers between teacher and student. We were no longer teacher and student. We were humans and we were both sharing emotion. I hope it was as special for her as much as it was for me. “Have a good holiday and be safe baby girl” she said as we began stepping away. It was a long goodbye. I walked away slowly and she walked away slowly as we continued to say goodbye metres away from each other until finally we both turned around and walked our own ways. I’m happy to say I could walk away with a smile on my face after the most stressful week that had come about for months. Although I still had the anxiety and fear that I wouldn’t be let back into her class, I was happy to have met her and to be given the chance to spend time with her. Writing about this makes me understand why I like her so much.
She’s given me everything I’ve felt like I’ve needed, a person to listen and care, a hug, and support. So I felt like I needed to make up for what she’s done and tell her that I love her too. I went to the staffroom to tell her the next day that I’d made it into her class after many hours of fighting with the coordinators. I was so overwhelmed when they told me that I screamed and couldn’t possibly say thank you enough times to the coordinators, even though it was the school welfare officer who made it all happen for me. I saw my new teacher in the photocopy room through the office window and said to my friends that I was going to go in there and tell her that I won the battle but I chickened out and tried to run away when I got to the staffroom door. Luckily my friends pushed me and dragged me through the door. They wouldn’t let me go! They asked for the teacher and she come out and saw the girls and said “ohhh what do you want now?” and then she saw me and her face lit up. She raised her eyebrows as soon as she saw me and a smile spread right across her face and her whole tone changed to a gentle mood as she came closer to me. My friends announced that I had made it into the class and she responded casually “Oh did you? That’s great!”. She didn’t overreact around my friends and other students who were waiting to speak to her. I understood that part so I wasn’t disappointed by her reaction. After lunch I had completely forgotten to hand in a compulsory note. If I didn’t hand it in I would fail the holiday homework! So I signed the note and rushed to the staffroom after school hoping she was there and by luck she was right near the staffroom door talking to another teacher. I was so relieved. I peeped my head through the door and whispered her name. Again, she raised her eyebrows and developed the warmest smile on her face. As I leaned on the edge of the doorfr
To any other person the significance of this story couldn't possibly be translated through writing. It really is the 'moments' in life that should count, not the minutes. For the circumstances at the time and the changes I had to adapt to once leaving hospital, being taking out of her class seemed like the biggest deal in the world. I know that deep down the real problems were the changes and lack of stability, mainly at school. But this woman couldn't possibly have given me more reassurance and comfort than she did. This is only a small section of what she has done for me but If I wrote about it all it would never end. My aim in writing this is to express how an occupation shouldn't limit the relationship you can develop with people. Obviously in most cases student-teacher relationships should remain professional. This one is still professional however there is a slight motherly role played by this teacher. I know there are people out there who become obsessed with their teachers. In those cases the love goes one way...and comes from the student only. In my case, it's not an obsession, it's a realtionship. The love goes both ways =)
(I just wanted to note that I'm not 'in love' with her romantically. I love her like a mother and she cares for me like a daughter :)