Teacher’s Pet

Daily Prompt Post: Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

My favourite teacher was one that I didn’t meet until my second last year of school, though it quickly felt like I’d known her for a long time.  It’s funny, at first I really didn’t like her…through no fault of her own.  I’d had a favourite teacher since Year 7, and she was supposed to be teaching me Theatre Studies in Year 11, my first class with her since Year 8.  I was so excited.  I rock up on the first day only to find she’d left the school without so much as a goodbye (in fact, she’d ended the conversation with “see you next year!” before school let out) so I was floored and guttered.  Ms Tolli had taken her place, a teacher brand new to the school.  I didn’t know her at all, but she was replacing my then-favourite teacher and nobody was going to be better than her.

It didn’t take too long for her to show us her fun and awesome she was though, and quickly the whole class were counting down to her classes.  Realistically, I probably shouldn’t have been doing that class at all (I only signed up for it because I wanted to be in the original teacher’s grade).  I was shy, awkward and wasn’t really interested in theatre at all.  Despite all that, Ms Tolli made me (and others in a similar situation) feel like we belonged and that would could do it.

She was supportive and really had our best interests at heart.  More than that, we saw her as a friend.  Looking back, I’m not even sure how she managed that, because mostly when teachers try to pull that off, they just come off as try-hards.  Not Ms Tolli though.

The main project of our theatre studies class was putting on a play from scratch, using only the people in our class.  The class was pretty small really, only maybe 15 people, so that’s no small fete.  We wound up spending a lot of time outside of normal school hours working on it, helping the actors learn their lines, building sets, working out the costumes and music.  We became more than just a class of Year-11s-and-12s, we were like a little family, with Ms Tolli as our surrogate mum.

I feel like I grew up a lot that year, thanks to her mentoring and kindness.  I started the year as shy and timid, and left with confidence and a stronger belief in myself.

We were so close by the end of the year that we celebrated at Ms Tolli’s house with a BBQ and booze.  Throughout the year we’d gotten to know her three young kids, and they were so happy we were there and including them.  Everyone was really sad the year was ending.  Half the class was finishing school completely, and others weren’t taking up her class next year (drama).  I was though, purely because I wanted another year with her.

I still miss her sometimes, and wish we were in contact.  I don’t know where I’d be now if she hadn’t given me the confidence and self-belief that she did.  Thanks for everything Vanda ❤

Back to School

Daily Post Prompt: If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

While I think my answer to this should really be maths, because I was terrible at it then and am still pretty bad at it now, I’m instead going to go with psychology.  Mostly because it’s been in the back of my mind for years that I wouldn’t mind studying that, but I don’t know if I’ll like it.  Had I done it at school, I’d know one way or the other.  I feel like I’d find it really interesting, but I just can’t commit to a whole course on it if I don’t know for sure.  Plus, if I had of done it in school instead of music, I probably would have gotten a better overall mark at the end of it all!

Do you wish you’d done something different in school?

– JD

Zoltar’s Revenge

Daily Prompt Topic: In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

Even the thought of this scares me a little.  Twelve was such a tough age.  On the cusp of puberty, starting out at a brand new (much bigger) school, having lockers and class schedules and fancy uniforms and meeting all these new people.  On top of that, your adult teeth are still making their way in so you look kind of like a Jack-O-Lantern, and your hair just won’t co-operate so it’s embarrassingly frizzy.  Safe to say I’d never wish to go back to that age.

If I had to, I guess I would recognise that everyone is feeling the same way.  At the time, I felt like I was going through it all a lot tougher than most, when really, that probably wasn’t true.  It’s a scary time for everyone there, it’s just that some chose to see past that and be confident anyway.

If I went back, I’d try to get to know more people instead of just the handful of friends I already had.  I’d try to relax a bit more, and not get stressed over school work and fights between friends.  I’d try to eat healthier, as this was the year where my diet began to go downhill.  I’d try not to fit in so much, as it’s okay to be different, and fitting in was never on the cards anyway.

That all being said, I learnt a lot from my first year of high school.  A lot of them were hard lessons, but ultimately have helped shape me into the person I am now.  I’m glad I can’t go back and change things, because if I could, who knows what I’d be like now?

– JD