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Rate My Teacher!

by Christina Bruno

I came from China.
I was nine and the second child.
To be an American meant to
learn English.
I knew that pictures made
words.
In my class, there
were a group of us.
We could taste it:
English.
New Americans.

When it came time to talk:
My lips trembled
in fear of saying the wrong
thing.
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
“Can I get water?”
I didn’t want the other kids
to snicker.
If they did, a voice defended me.
“It’s okay to make a mistake –
everyone here is learning.”
It was my teacher.
She was only 24.

She called me and
my friends to
sit next her
and she smiled at me
“This is a letter.”
and we traced it on a rug
together
the letter made a sound
consonants. vowels.
we put them together
and made words
the words made sentences
and the sentences
made
books –
English books.

I started to read in English
I was in fifth grade.

but couldn’t stay forever.

When the sun was very warm,
the summer came. I moved on.

A new school.
Junior High.

When the weather became cold
again, I noticed gift giving
around me. Who would I give my gift to?

Perhaps at the school fair or
at a store, I got my teacher a plastic-beaded
bracelet.

I ran back to my elementary school to find her.
In the lobby, as she dismissed all the children.
She saw me and called my name.
I wrapped the bracelet up and
gave it to her.
Because.
That teacher.
Changed my life.

Now I ask you:
How would you rate my teacher?

07/06/2011

Author's Note: I still have that bracelet and I will never give it away. I have so many of these stories that I could tell.

Posted on 07/06/2011
Copyright © 2016 Christina Bruno

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Ken Harnisch on 07/07/11 at 08:50 AM

I'd say she was a pretty amazing teacher and I'd give her an "A" and welcome her back to the poetry writing family, while I'm at it..:)

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 07/08/11 at 07:39 AM

...christina, this is touching. i taught at the college[Community College]level and the same things[the aHa! experience] occurs there.] i am retired and yet the human experience is the same. alas, some get it, some are slower to come around...a delightful posit you deliver. i keep having them myself...love the personal touch in this.

Posted by Paul Lastovica on 07/08/11 at 10:19 AM

I vividly remember my fourth grade teacher, and my junior high & high school art teachers; my senior year creative writting teacher; too many to list, really. With the exception of a few bad apples (my world geography teacher who fell asleep during his own lectures) I'd say I got a pretty good education growing up.

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