Thank You Teacher
Thank You Teacher
A big city, a huge posh school, new faces all around. I terribly missed the small town and the tiny school I came from. I felt like a fish out of the waters, but there was no option because my father was transferred to Kolkata. It was a magnificent school perfect in all aspects and was run by nuns. The teachers and the students belonged to an elite background.
The academic session had just begun and I was in the VIth Std. We had to welcome our new Superior with a prayer meeting. From each class, a child was chosen. I volunteered from my class. I was adept at public speaking and other cultural activities in the previous school. I wanted to make a mark in the new one too. Word spread around that the Superior was a disciplinarian and a very meticulous person, therefore arrangements for her welcome geared up in full swing and we had many practise sessions.
On the D-day, the school wore a festive look. The prayer meeting began. Each participant uttered her prayer flawlessly. It was my turn, I stood up with confidence and as I glanced at the Superior she too turned towards me. Both pairs of eyes met. “She is very strict your performance must be flawless, speak clearly and pronounce perfectly.” The stern words of Sr.Teresa who was in-charge of the prayer meeting came topmost to my mind. For the first time I became nervous and completely forgot what I had to say. I tried hard but could not open my mouth. I started sweating profusely. The next girl and the next, finished their lines and the meeting ended. The entire school was staring at me. Hushed voices mumbled, “Who is this new girl?” “What a shame! She couldn’t speak a few sentences?” These harsh comments hit me across my face like thunder. I just bent my head down.
A little later Sr.Teresa stormed into our classroom and held me to ridicule. “You let me down new girl! You were fine doing the practice sessions what happened today? Better not participate in further events. I am answerable to the Principal. I don’t understand how to face her. Any other girl would have been better.” She screamed these sentences angrily and walked out of the classroom. My class teacher Miss Anne Thomas came up to where I was standing and placed her affectionate hand on my head. In an involuntary reaction I immediately hugged her and cried bitterly. Apologising to her in between sobs I told her, “Mam I am good at speaking but I don’t know what happened to me today, I became very nervous and I forgot my speech. I am extremely sorry I let you down.” Wiping my tears she made me sit down and asked me to meet her after class.
After the home-time bell I went to the staff-room. Some teachers looked at me angrily, some felt dejected and some without any reaction. “Why did you choose a new-comer Anne?” “Even after knowing pretty well our Principal is very rigorous, how could you take a risk?” Without responding, with a smile on her face, notebooks in her hand Miss Anne quietly came out of the staff-room and led me to our classroom. “Crying and trying have only one letter difference in spelling but a lot in meaning. Crying collapses our confidence while trying creates confidence. We are human beings. It is quite natural for us to make mistakes.” She started counselling in a very sweet voice. “So what if you are a new-comer, you will soon get accustomed to this school and become a star. You were telling me you are good at extra-curricular activities, I want you to be active and participate in each competition. I am always there to support you. We need to prove to many that they are wrong.” She spoke for quite some time caressing me. Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. She instilled great confidence in me.
Several times later, I would be reluctant but Miss Anne would always goad me to participate in various school activities. My performance would be satisfactory and at times bad too. However, she wasn’t the one to give up. She believed in me more than I believed in myself. I don’t know what she found in me, she continuously worked upon me and the day finally came when the entire school looked up to me. I would be chosen to deliver the welcome speech at every function especially when important dignitaries visited the school. Events, English plays, skits, debates, elocutions, quiz competitions soon became my cup of tea and it was pre-determined every coveted prize would be mine.
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go, while others stay and leave footprints in our hearts, and we are never the same.” I began my speech lauding Miss Anne Thomas, on the last day of school when we were given a farewell. I paid my tribute to her in genuine gratitude and this left everyone speechless. Today at the age of 55 I humbly put forth that I owe my all to Miss Anne Thomas. She has been successful in not only making me an efficient English lecturer but has also contributed in carving me into a prolific writer and orator. A teacher is one who kindles a small light of knowledge within us and sees to its transformation into a huge bonfire. “I am highly indebted to you Miss Anne, without you, I would have never been what I am today. Thank you very much. May your tribe increase!!