A Letter To My English Teacher
One of the few teachers who saw my potential
Dear My Beyer,
I remember you weren't my teacher for long, you came halfway through the year for some reason. You were balding, had glasses and you moved around like a human tortoise. You often wore navy blue knitted jumpers in the winter and in the summer you wore collared shirts.
I was 15 when you became my teacher and you selected me often to read a verses out loud. Was it because my voice was loud and clear? It was because of you I learnt to pronounce revel properly, thank you for the correction.
Well, to be honest, I found the amount of potential you saw in me to be overwhelming. I wrote a mock article to the newspaper and you gave me 5/5. I was secretly astounded. When one of the students asked who came top in the written part of the exam and you said my name, I think I was as shocked as the rest of the class who looked at me with their wide disbelieving eyes. After all the encouragement you gave me through awarding me with high grades and selecting me for reading, I dwindled.
I had to do a speech and when I recited it in front of the class no one could hear me. My voice was so feeble and I felt like the most undeserving person. I'm not sure why I thought like that. All you said to me afterward was something about projecting my voice.
After that year, I took English and I was like a flailing fish. I just couldn't really do anything in that class correctly, I felt like everyone else around me was far better and superior. I sat next to my friend who excelled while I felt like all my ideas and concepts were so forced and immature and I think my teacher agreed because I just scraped through with a pass.
The year after that I took English and this time I had fun because I had 4 other friends to sit with and our Canadian English teacher taught us all about her romantic inner world of Shakepeare's The Twelfth Night, Alfred Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott and studying the movie Mansfield Park based on the book by Jane Austen. I'm not sure what the guys thought about their teacher but Ms Cattic was a dreamy fairy that lived in this romantic world and her passion for literature reignited something in me about literature that was snuffed out.
In the last year I opted out from taking English as I despised doing the speeches. All those eyes on me? No thank you!
Fast forward 15 years and here I am thanking you My Beyer for what seemed like a weird and crazy train ride. I wanted to say thank you, as for now, I have fallen in love again with words and meanings. While looking back, there was something in my writing you saw that I didn't. There was something you saw in me that I wasn't aware of and too afraid to see. Apparently I had potential otherwise I wouldn't have felt so acknowledged by you, therefore, I am grateful to you and all the efforts you made. You weren't working with someone easy, you were working with someone with a lot of anxiety and unworthiness.
Your slow movements and your slow, sonorous voice was something I didn't appreciate at the time. Yet, the more I am growing older, I too am moving more slowly and taking my time with speech. I used to speak fast and move fast but now time seems like it is on my side. They do say slow and steady wins the race...
I race against myself and the slower version indeed is much more sustainable.