My Sophomore year in high school, I took a stand against my English teacher, who spent the first six weeks teaching pronouns. Yes, six weeks on he, she, and it. I know, right! I went to my school counselor, told her I wanted a different teacher. She reviewed my grades and was appalled no one had ever considered me for the Honors Track. This oversight is a mainstay in my life. I think social people are considered dumb or something.
Anyway, I visited Yvonne Davis’s classroom. The room was an ode to literary minds; books, authors' faces and quotes everywhere. Ms. Davis was . . . shucks I don’t know how old. At sixteen everyone seemed old. But she was old. White hair, frail, slender frame and used a cane. We talked and fell in deep like with each other. My initial teacher told me I would fail and return to his class. Mind you, I was the smartest kid in his class. Sometimes I taught his class.
I didn’t fail.
In fact, I got the highest grade in the class.
One day Ms. Davis asked me to stay after class. I’m horrified. What did I do? I wrote my alpha and omega papers on Hamlet. Yes, you read correctly. If we had multiple papers on a book we labeled them with the Greek alphabet. Okay, stop asking questions. Let me tell the story. Ms. Davis followed the last student out, closed the door, ambled back to her stool that was always stationed behind a lectern, and fixed me to my chair.
I laughed (maybe snorted).
She frowned. “I’m serious. You must be on the journalism team in this school. I don’t know how we missed you.”
I laughed again and began to fidget. Even though I’m social, I hate receiving attention.
She explained the group met the last period of the day, so I would have to start school at 6:45 . . . am. This received another laugh. I don’t do mornings.
She was agitated. I had laughed three times and I kept eyeing the door. I thought, I’m spry I can beat her to it. I checked her stare and posture and considered she may have some mutant power.
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll fill it out. But that doesn’t mean I’ll do it.”
She smiled (only sugar is sweeter). “You’ll do it. Once you meet Ms. Davis and see what the team does, you’ll do it.” She held out the form; it looked like a white flag offering a truce.
She was right. I did it. I loved the second Ms. Davis. She is another story, another blog.
Ms. Yvonne Davis saw something in me. I’m not sure what or how, but she saw it. She had a brilliant mind. That woman breathed life into every story she touched. She pushed each student to do their best. She taught me how to love what I do and fight for what I want. Oh, she increased my love for writing and reading, two passions already cemented in my heart when I met her.
So who was (is) an influential teacher in your life?