A Class Apart

If you must run into someone from your past it better not be your Physics teacher. At least it better not be my Physics teacher. She and I only agreed to disagree. Of course if you’re standing in the Men’s section of a clothing store giving your opinion on something that in all likelihood is going home in the backseat of the car with you and your man, then there is no one better to run into than your middle school English teacher.

Ah those glorious days when all English teachers loved me and there was no one else I’d rather meet at a PTA. Now after all these years I recognized my past perfect teacher in a glance but stepped in front and politely put her name in with that all important question mark in the end. She smiled that smile from years ago and there was all the catching up to do. Not that I’ve invented anything since I last met her but there was the obvious recap. To my “And you’re still at school?” she replied “Once a teacher always a teacher”. (I decided not to break the moment up with examples of teachers-turned-something-else). So after I had said all I could given the lost time of the past years she wished me the best (while I swallowed the “Ma’am are you on Facebook?” question) and I got back to the good trouser-bad trouser game.

Over the years there have been so many types of teachers in my life that I could make a not so subtle version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about my relationship with them. And when I look back there’s no doubt about who I’d rather run into. There’s my first class teacher in boarding school or any of the English teachers over the years or perhaps the man whom I gifted a copy of To Sir with Love (with a special note), not knowing a better way to say thank you.

What’s common among the teachers I miss is that in some way they shaped who I am. Amidst all the confusion of growing up and learning new (and often) un-exciting things, there were those who stirred my mind with ideas that went beyond classrooms and textbooks.

Lectures were always of two types: the ones I ran away from (given half the chance) and those I ran to. The former were presided over by those to whom I’d dedicate Another Brick in the Wall. The latter were given by people I’d be more than glad to run into years later, especially when I’m trying hard to steer clear of dark sarcasm and thought control in the Men’s section of a clothing store.

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