This is a tribute that I pay to my teacher. . after 8 long years.
To my math teacher,
I was never a “complan girl”. Never the extra-brilliant one. I’m not under-estimating myself but yes, I can get confused with numbers beyond my fingers and toes. And that too in class 12! As every kid who is in grade 12, I was also put under the “Board Exam/Undergraduation exam” terror. The only few sentences that we all used to hear during those times were “You should study well. This is your board exam”, “If you do not score well, you’l never get into a good college” “Why are you playing around!!!, you have your boards in 10 months” Yeah, thats right 10 months! “If you are scoring this low in your mock exams , how are you gonna write boards child, you would not get the good colleges, job? settle in life? !!!” No 18 year old would understand the settling in life then.
You are tortured by your teachers, parents, neighbors, relatives and I personally believe, when I go cycling, my neighbour’s cat used to glare at me which I translate to as “What are you doing outdoors! You ought to be studying!”
Despite all the warnings, the alerts and the threating, I consistently managed to score low in the much dreaded math. We used to say “math” instead of the conventional “Math s”. Old habits die hard I guess :). I never could figured why I did not perform well. I was lucky to have being taught by “Mr Oze” while in class 10. And truly he was a wizard. He was the Head of department of Mathematics. I always kept a low profile in his class. Mostly because, I did not want him to consider me as a “ahh not her” with a sympathetic face which most of the teachers thought I was. Never raised my hand for answering, never asked him doubts but always admired how he taught. He was tall, dyed hair 😀 (atleast I always thought he colored it black) with a pot belly. He wore a golden rimmed spectecles which he used to keep it at the end of his nose. He was never biased, never prejudiced, most importantly most of us were crystal clear about the various formulae and concepts that were being taught.
I think he took notice of me since I was the very few that could harm the over all percentage of the school in 10th. He made it a point that I solve 13 question papers just a week before the exam!!. And like magic I scored a 96 for the final class 10 exams.
But in class 12 with all the subjects becoming tougher and tougher, I never could score in the math. And to top it all, I was being taught by another teacher. My grades dropped down, just like a child going down the slide. I would blank out on seeing the question paper. All that I studied would be wiped clean out of slate. A constant worry for my parents. I think they even thought I would not clear the subject for the final exams and my future was a mayhem. I was asked to take Part C, an optional section of Math, because my teacher thought I would not handle the much tougher Part B. I was consistently failing.
Parent teacher meetings became an agony for my parents. And then, for one of those distressing meetings, my parents met Mr Oze. He said “We should do something madam, I cannot see her score like this. This is the last month we have, send her for home-tuition at my place”
They entered into a pact of send me for the tuition. I was asked to reach at his place at 3.30 or 4pm along with the first batch. All the bright bulbs or the expected toppers of the class came in for that. I sat through it, then came in the next batch at 5.30. It had the average students, those who have the potential to become a topper. I studied with them too.. And finally, there came in a batch at 7.30. I sat through 3 batches of students, day in and day out for almost 30 days. He made it a point that I understand every word he teaches.
4 to 5 and sometimes even 6 hours of math wrecked my brains, but I studied. I studied because he had faith in me when I had none for myself. I was too tired of seeing the disappointed faces. He seemed to be the only one who believed that I could jump this hurdle. He would constantly say “You wouldn disappoint me girl, right?” and I would nod. I could not let him down. I could not let hopes of my teacher die.
I wrote the school model exams, and I passed for the first time in whole year, although with the bare minimum. But I passed. I still remember the day when I went to collect my papers, he looked through his golden framed glasses, and with a slight smile he said, “You passed”. A big reliever for my mom and dad. Their daughter passed. 🙂
I wrote the final exam. And I got 86. Full stop.
The point here is not the fact that, kids are put to pressure, not that I cleared my boards and not at all that I scored a decent 86. But the Faith.
The faith that a teacher had in a 18 year old. He may have had only 1 percent of faith in me. But that 1 percent was more than enough for me to crack it. Had he been dejected once, or had he given up on me, probably I would never have the confidence that I have now. Time and again, when I find myself in despair, not reaching my own expectations, I’m reminded of this faith. Faith that my teacher had in me. Faith that my parents had in me. If I could do it then, I can do it now.
And I will always be grateful to him for the time he spent to teach me, for the patience he showed, for that belief he had in me. . Its a blessing to have been taught by him. I flew back to my hometown after exams. I have never met him after 12th. I’ve never got a chance to say thank you.
Its an honor for me to have been your student sir. .Hope to you see sometime. .