High school? I hated it. I never think back to 2013 and think, man, I miss school. Never. I was well liked by teachers and other students, a lot of times I did what I had to do but I can’t say I really applied myself. To come to truths with it, I think I hated it because I knew in such short time – 4 years – I would be considered an adult. Me against the world. I did not want to grow up. I still don’t.
I hated getting up in the morning for school. I’m down one less day to make a difference. I felt like I was running out of time to be a kid. I knew I was. I knew life was controlling my life.
Shitty lunch. Shitty time to wake up in the morning. Shitty school traffic. Shitty projects. Shitty everything about school.
What did all those formulas even mean? Did they even matter. Did giving me homework and grading it really even count for anything? Thanks for babysitting me 6 hours Monday through Friday. Thanks for telling me when I can and cannot go to the bathroom. Thanks for scolding me whenever I opened my damn mouth while you’re “teaching a class”. What you really did was waste time. You’re wasting your time, my time, and everyone else’s time.
The only teachers who didn’t waste time were the ones who made a difference.
My English teacher, Mr. Smith, he was the best damn teacher I ever had. 3 out of 4 years he was my teacher. English always has been my favorite subject, but that’s not the reason he was my favorite teacher.
Mr. Smith just knew me. He knew my good days, he knew my bad days. Just by my reply, or the look on my face, or the way I walked. He had so much to teach, more than what the curriculum required.
I could not thank him enough for the time and energy he invested in caring about his students, especially me. This sounds stupid, and maybe selfish, but sometimes I felt like Mr. Smith valued our teacher-to-student relationship more than others. Of course, I knew he had strong ties with other students – not just me. But he felt like such a best friend, that it felt better to tell myself that I was one of the important ones out of many, many students. He was always all ears for me when he knew I could use it. He helped me out so much with being better at essays, and English projects he assigned, or even assignments where he wanted the students to be personal, and touch their inner-self. He really, honestly, helped me to better understand myself.
He was a huge supporter of my poetry. I began writing poetry in the 7th grade, middle school. It’s a powerful form of self-expression. It’s so valuable. In English class, was the only necessary time and place during school to express yourself because it does tie in.
I asked him to read my poems, or sometimes he asked himself. Often I made him copies of the poems, and to my surprise he would read them anonymously to his classes. That filled whatever empty space I was trying to fill. I felt so appreciated. And deep down I was rooting for the little hope that maybe my poems touched someone else. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.
T. Smith just made everything seem so easy. To forgive and forget. To love and be loved. One of the best things about his teaching was the passion he had for it. You knew he cared about a lesson when he would teach it with his hands, gesturing all over the place. The face he would make, you could hear how much he loved what he did in his voice.
My junior year, my last year with Smith, we [his classes] were reading The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I was distracted by the illness of my grandfather, so I didn’t really put my head in the book. Also. at this time of the school year I was in surgery, so I had to catch up on the book on my own time when I returned to school.
A couple days after the new year in January, back in school, I was working off the pain from my surgery and the pain of my grandfather’s death on the 20th of December.
Smith sent me to the library to catch up on the book by myself. I read more than I needed to, I went back to the pages I didn’t pay attention to and started from there. If you haven’t read the book, it has to do with military and living life with it after. But at the end of the book, he mentions the love of his life. He brought back memories from them being younger in school, and recollected that she always wore a hat.
Revealing that she wore a hat because had no hair.
She lost it due to cancer.
I started balling my eyes out. I finished the book, wiping tears, and hunted Smith down on a mission, asking why the hell he wouldn’t warn me about the emotional roller coaster with cancer knowing I’m in the process of coping with it.
Cancer became a very, very tough and soft spot for me. Being effected by it with a loved one really hits you where it hurts.
But what Smith taught me by reading the book, is that even through a tough time you must move on. Life happens. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. He didn’t know it, but that was his most important lesson to me. You’re going to go through a tough time, and then at the same time you may even have to go through another. You’re going to go through challenges, and hoops of fire, to overcome your pain. Sometimes going through one bad thing makes the other bad thing go away because you eventually learn how to prioritize your fears and reality.
y=mx+b // life = what happens(no matter what) + how you react.
What the formula really means.