In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dream Teacher.”
I will never forget Mrs. Battista. My 9th Grade teacher was about 5′ 6″ tall; she had dark shoulder length hair which more often than not she wore up in either a pony tail or a French roll. Her trim figure, was made just a bit trimmer by her 3 inch pumps, and red must have been her favorite colour as she wore it on a regular basis.. She had a bit of a mottled olive complexion, dark eyes and pretty full lips that did not that often smile, but when they did her eyes lit up as well.
I was a good student, albeit a bit mischievous. My brand of mischief was never very troublesome as I was a coward and could not bear the idea of actually getting into trouble. My biggest problem was that I would get hair brained ideas, think they were brilliant and get carried away with myself in the fulfilling of them. I was often one of the tallest in my class and so sat towards the back of the room, this afforded me a certain amount of freedom. Mrs. Battista was not only my home room teacher, but she also taught us History and Algebra. I was so bored of these subjects and Mrs. Battista was kind and soft spoken; I had no fear of her like I had of Mrs. Gregelis, my 8th grade home room teacher who would point a finger at me and utter that dreaded word “detention”…..this meant a half hour sitting quietly with arms folded in the detention room at the end of the school’s day. The students I had around me were an eager audience and I was willing to turn up my desk and entertain them with what ever props I had in my repertoire. My goal was seeing and hearing them laugh. Well I carried on this way and seemingly was getting away with much fun in my little corner of the room.
Soon within the first couple of months of school we were given a note for our parents with information on time and date for the upcoming “Parents Teacher Meetings”. Evening appointment times were allotted and mothers and fathers would file into the classroom to discuss the progress of their chilren. I was quietly tucked away in my room when my mother returned home. My sister eagerly approached her with all sorts of questions as to what was said about her. I said nothing, and stayed where I was. I heard my mother call my name. I did not expect this to be pretty. As I approached her she walked towards me and took my hand. She looked me in the eyes and said “Your teacher likes you so much” ……What ? My mother went on to quote Mrs. Battista as she showered me with all manner of complementary feedback. It was shocking to hear that I was an excellent student. Apparently I was a hard worker; she claimed that I wanted to excel, and take my work seriously but the classmates surrounding me were a constant distraction. Again, I did beautiful work, was well behaved and a very bright student. She confessed that because of the distractions from other students she had decided to move my desk front row and center so I could more readily stay focused.
The following morning I entered the classroom to behold a large group of students huddled around Mrs. Battista’s desk. The room rumbled with the sound of my peers spouting off on the many improvements and gentle criticisms that were reported back to them. messages from their teacher. I walked directly to my desk and sat. What could I have said ? ” My mother said I was……very good ? Mrs. Battista parted the wall of kids around her and peaked out at me. She offered me a warm smile and the twinkle in her eye landed on my heart. I smiled back. I really liked her. She cared for me. She was smart and knew exactly what she was doing. She turned my year around and I became her most attentive student. I grew a healthy interest in History and did my best with Algebra.
Later when my desk was moved from the far corner, to the front of the room, the last laugh was on me.