In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mentor Me.” Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned?
- Mentormentor. This brings to my mind the teachers I had in school when I was younger. And isn’t it an irony how mentors are actually your tormentors as well. We are shaped as much by the positive and negative experiences in life.
I remember being subjected to embarrassment in my first grade right in my first year of in school. We were winding up our recess time getting ready to start lessons as I got back to my chair, my teacher was still talking to her fellow teachers by the door ( we knew that talk lasts forever), so we get impatient, so we talk to one another (what else do we do?). The next time I saw her, she was back in front of the class giving us that silent treatment with that fiendish eyes glaring, her mind screaming “keep quiet”. But it was taking her a lot of time to make us keep quiet by that system, so I decided to look behind me and say one word, just one word to a classmate. That’s when her one quick glance caught up with me then it got stuck with me and I heard the sound of my own voice, I saw everyones’ eyes on me, a look accusing me of misbehaving. Years ago teachers would hit students on the hands. Our hands are laid flat on the table and she gives us a quick slap with her stick, if it hurt I don’t remember. That’s what I expected at that moment. A quick slap of my hands. Remorsed I got up from my seat when she motioned me in front, gave me her stick then asked me to lead the class in reading, while she went back to her teacher chat. I was the best reader in class, my aunts-teachers tutored me I’ve memorized the first grade reading book before I started school and was reading second grade books while in first grade. Since that time, after recess I’ll stand up in front with stick on my hand leading the class into reading. My embarrassment had a turn around into pride.
In fourth grade my math teacher hit me with an eraser. This time it occurred during my math class. Each of our subject lasts forty minutes with fifteen minutes gap between as we need to transfer from one room to another. Our recess is spent in that classroom right at the end of that subject before recess. We either bring our own food, which I never did, or buy from the cafeteria (I always do) within a very short 15 minute time and risk getting tardy for the next subject. During that time the administration introduced “nutribun”, a bakery product that’s supposed to be nutritious designed for school children. It was the size of my ten year old hand and unmistakably weightier compared to a regular bun. It wasn’t sold in the cafeteria instead each class had one student assigned to pick up from an area, sell to us, collect and remit the money. This, she or he will do in a ten to fifteen minutes gap between each subject. Class has begun soon as she gets back, a concern farthest from her mind, her task is to get rid of the sack of nutribun on her back. An inescapable scene we’ll see everyday reminding us recess is coming. Regardless, once the teacher turns around, underground business commences, whispering, tapping on the shoulder, our eyes in conversation and simultaneously there is a continuous activity of moving hands distributing goods underneath our desks. I saw my teacher’s back, decided to make one quick glance behind me, as I turn back my eyes met her fierce eyes now locked on me, then I felt the wooden eraser hit my forehead. No cuts or bloody encounter except I felt my bangs falling on my right eye which I left as long as I could to at least cover my bruised ego. Everybody quieted down and for a couple of days no one wanted my experience. Business slowed down, no more whisperings and secret languages. But, it was my moment, everybody knew me after that (sigh). I started inviting my classmates over to my house as a gesture that I’m okay. I’m used to this anyway. We formed a dance club and I taught them how to dance. I don’t know why, perhaps in my need for validation and retrieve my bruised ego.
The lessons I’ve learned, get up and teach them how to read and dance.