Monday, 23 July 2012

Teacher gets recognition - ten years later.

Travelling on public transport on the weekend usually brings a customer list which is vastly different from travellers during peak times.  At particular times on weekends I find it's best to be unobtrusive and avoid eye contact with other travellers at all costs.  It's just what you do when people are on their return journey after visiting their local "pharmacy" to have their "prescriptions" filled.

It was refreshing yesterday, on a Sunday afternoon, to witness a reunion between a friendly and appreciative student and a taciturn and pugnacious former teacher.

An eccentric looking, white haired man boarded the west bound train carrying a satchel over one shoulder.  He placed his bag on a spare seat and then wandered up the carriage looking at the various signs.  On his return to the seat and his bag, he passed a young man.

The young man looked at the older man and then turned and asked him if he was Mr Such-and-Such.

The older man looked a bit put out by the question, pressed himself to the back of his seat, and then barely answered with a "yes".

The young man told the older man that he had been his teacher.  The older man shook his head and said that he was sorry.

"I don't know who you are," were his exact words.

The young man was undaunted, stood up and switched seats so that he could speak to his teacher.  He looked genuinely pleased to be reunited with his teacher and was unfazed by the frosty reception.  He smiled as he recounted his life since leaving Mr Such-and-Such's care.

"You taught me so much!  You really improved my writing actually.  I'm really grateful," the young man said.  His face was smiling and overflowing with the genuineness of his words.

The older man started to thaw a little.  He asked a few questions of the young man, even though it was clear he had no idea who he was.  Together they worked out that it had been over ten years since Mr Such-and-Such had presided over a classroom in which the young man was a student.

As we arrived at Footscray, the young man gathered his belongings and expressed deep gratitude for the random meeting with his former teacher.  Mr Such-and-Such wished the young man good luck in his study of Law as the young man alighted from the train.

I glanced over at the teacher.  He looked pleased to have received this warm-hearted attention.  He looked displeased that he had no memory of someone on whom he had clearly made an impression.  I wondered where he was travelling to and how long he would be have to search his memory.

No comments:

Post a Comment