Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Teacher

Sometime in my school years, I was blessed with an excellent teacher. From this person, whom I admire very much, I learned things which I never could have comprehended otherwise. I can say with confidence now that no one in my life up to this point had ever made me feel so understood as this teacher. Being understood is an emotional thing for me, and when I see an interaction between two people who really understand one another, I always feel deeply moved. It's difficult for me to suppress tears in the situations where one of these persons is myself.

I admire this person for many reasons, and many of the qualities so plentiful in in her are lacking in myself. Despite this, I've never felt envious of this person. I often lament my inability to focus -- especially during study of more quantitative measures. My teacher is an expert mathematician. I feel embarrassed at my lack of ability to read body language and assert myself in front of others. My teacher was as sensitive and as emphatic as she needed to be -- never more nor less.

Something which touches me especially was her calculated silence when I expressed bad ideas. I know that there were lots of them. And yet, this teacher of mine was silent, and let me figure my own mistakes out as I made them. I was never made to feel silly or dull, unless I did it to myself. Which I did... often. As a teen I was pugnacious, vulgar and crass. I was upset. I was confused. Teenage-hood is a difficult time for all of us.

There's a specific scene in the Magic Flute where Tamino enters a door and comes upon a tutor with two students. The tutor explains that Tamino's journey will be near impossible, but the reward awaiting him is worth the struggle. It is exactly this sentiment which was expressed it me, and I'm holding it close to my heart lately. At the end of our last year together, my teacher gave me a letter with the most heartwarming sentiments which have ever been written to me. In it, she recognized that I was different, and would be different for the remainder of my life. She cautioned me that I would be lonely. This she did in the most tactful and gentle manner, probably because she was well-aware of the hypersensitivity of adolescent girls. And yet, she also included a ray of light, a crack through which the light gets in. There would be others like me, not often, but there would be. And that I had a life ahead which is full of thoughts, and ideas, and emotion. To my young self, these three things composed my entire inner life. The notion that my time would be filled with these was overwhelming and joyous. She was the first in a line of few with whom I felt understood.

While my communication with this person now is infrequent and brief, we do recognize one another as kindred spirits. It is always a pleasure for me to discover that we have been reading the same book, or enjoying the same music. I hope that we will continue to reflect back towards one another as time goes on and I begin to grow into myself.

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