Back when I was in high school, I had a teacher who was tough. We all have had them. They always seemed to pick on you when you didn’t have your hand raised. They checked your homework first on what seemed like only the days you forgot to do it. They grilled you on every test and quiz. Well, mine was no different.
She was my Spanish teacher. She was from Mexico and she was dead serious about teaching her students. She had a glare that could cut like a high-powered laser. I always felt like she had it out for me. The funny thing was, I loved taking Spanish. When the end of my junior year came, I decided not to take Spanish the next year to fit in an Accounting class. Needless to say, the oral part of my final exam was delivered as questions as to why I was not taking Spanish the next year.
As painful as those years with her were, and I did have her as a teacher more than once, Spanish stuck with me. I used it when I got into a car accident with a family that did not speak English. I used it at my job when we received correspondence in Spanish. My children know a bit of it, as well, due to my penchant to use it wherever I can.
So, recently, I happened to run into this Spanish teacher at a local store. It’s been 15 years since I have seen her. When I stated my name, she smiled broadly and gave me a welcoming hug. And I, too, was surprisingly thrilled to see her. We chatted about our families and our lives for almost a half hour in the store that day. I walked away so happy that I was able to see her again and incredibly stunned at my own reaction to her.
Then I realized the horrible truth. Even in my stubborn and slightly rebellious attitude as a teenager, I truly appreciated the fact that she pushed me in her class. I was glad to have someone constantly making sure that I was learning the material and who cared about my success. And today, I am still glad that I had a teacher like her who made me enjoy learning a language so much that I still try to use it as much as I can, even without a professional need to do so.
So, for all those kids out there that have this type of teacher, try and ease up on them. It really is a wonderful thing to have a teacher who cares. And it kills me to say this, but when your parents give you that eternally annoying phrase, “you’ll understand when you’re older”…you really will.