I spent the entire Sunday reading Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. It has been a while since I did that; just spending an entire day reading and sipping coffee on my bed. It was so captivating that I could'nt put it down. Some might beg to differ but this book is one that brought me back to my schooling days; even bringing me back to my tutoring days.
I read three of Frank's books and all three are memoirs of his life but this one in particular compelled me to write something here. I wish I had been in his class especially his creative writing classes. Something I always wanted to learn but never did. His classes were not only unconventional, bringing him to the 'authorities of teaching' but grabbing both the attention of the students and the parents. His storytelling in his classes were loved by all. I wish I could have been there when they were singing and playing flute to the words of recipes in cookbooks. Now, can you ever imagine just being in one of these classes? Wouldn't that be a class to remember for the rest of your life?
Reading about teachers brings me down to memory lane. I remember teachers who had made a difference in my life. Teachers who inspire and brings life to lessons in the classroom. I remember incidents where I have challenged teachers too even when I was just at the age of 8. Shame on me for doing that!!
I remember few teachers in particular back in primary school. Sr. Mildred is a Franciscan nun who teaches me in my early primary school days. She is always cheerful, loving and full of encouragement. What touches me most were not the words she uses but her very actions that prompted me to try harder in all that I do. She would give me a a present acknowledging that I was the top student or even when I only made it to top three. Most of the time, these presents are books. Everyone back then knew that to make me happy, just buy me a book. These little gestures that was showered upon me impressed upon my heart that a little encouragement goes a long way for the little ones.
Another teacher of mine is in fact another nun who happens to be my grandaunt. She did not exactly teach me in classes but she read books to me when I was very young, telling me stories of saints and the early christians who sacrificed their lives for Jesus. I remembered how my little spirits soared when I hear the stories. Little did I know she was sowing seeds on me, seeds that I buried when I was growing up but I think these seeds are slowly making its way to grow in me now. Sr. Eulalia is what I call her.
Another favourite teacher of mine taught me both English and catechism. She was a petite lady with grey curly hair always wearing flowered print, tailored dresses. She taught me manners and inspired me with the beauty of the language, English. Mrs. Chong, my favourite English teacher.
I could go on and on about the list of teachers in my secondary school and especially in colleges. Teachers or lecturers who became my friends, my confidantes, my crazy 'partners in crime', my colleagues, my imagemakers and etc. It would be too much to contain in a single blog. Perhaps I could start a memoir, the teachers who made a difference in my life.
I have to agree with Frank on something though. Teachers are always underappreciated and probably will be for centuries to come. However, the kid you taught will remember you although you might not know it. They just have too much pride to admit it and knowing you have contributed to making that someone a better someone, I think that is something already worth celebrating.
If you happen to be a teacher or a lecturer or whatever they call you but you know you are imparting knowledge to someone, remember that you are not merely teaching, you are helping to mould that someone to be a better person.