As much as I hate to admit it, I was a very narrow minded teenager (go figure) and one such result of my narrow mindedness and generalized stupidity was that during middle and the first part of high school, I never really much cared for my English/Spanish teacher. At that time in my life I thought the subjects were unnecessary and her desire to push us in those subjects was more than my patience could stand. Looking back now I realize what an absolute moron I was for thinking this. I feel it is partly because of my English/Spanish teacher that I was able to breeze through my first year of college due to the skills and knowledge I had gained as well as the personal drive I had acquired. I owe a great deal of my success to her as well as that entire school really. It is something I could never repay them for.
However this story takes place during the time which I didn't much care for her; a time in which she surprised me and made me think twice about my preconceived notions of her. As many of you know I am an avid animal lover. I have owned all sorts of animals including dogs, cats, fish, turtles, rabbits, frogs, crabs, and a hamster. I have a very deep love for my pets and have a connection with each of them. I bring this up because this story also happens around the time that went very unfortunately for a rabbit.
This isn't MY rabbit but he looked just like this
I had owned Anakin, a Dwarf Himalayan rabbit, for several years at this point when he became very ill and passed very suddenly. It didn't sit well with me because I hadn't just lost some rabbit, I had lost a friend. I didn't sleep well that evening and was still saddened the next morning when I went to school. During first period nobody had really paid any attention to it and thought I was just tired still, however by the time second period was around I was asked what was wrong by a classmate. It was then that the History Teacher, husband to the English/Spanish teacher, overheard the conversation. Let's just say compassion wasn't an emotion that came to school with him that day. He proceeded to make fun of me in front of the whole class over the death of a stupid rabbit. I remained silent in my chair as he went on to his lecture and we went to English the next period.
I was looking forward to this even less because I had just been made fun of by one teacher and I was going to one of my least favorite classes now. As we sat in our assigned seats another classmate of mine happened to lean over and voice his disbelief at what the History teacher had done not knowing that the English teacher was listening to him. "I couldn't believe Mr (x) actually said that stuff and made fun of you for losing your pet." my classmate said. It was then that I received the shock of my life.
My English teacher was up out of her hair, face red, and in front of me in seconds. She looked at me with a mixture of outrage and pity and simply asked "Did he really make fun of you for that?" I simply nodded and before I knew it she had stormed out the door and down the hallway towards his classroom. She pulled him out of his classroom, began screaming at him in the hallway; running him up one side and down the other for what he had done. She came back in the room with a large smile on her face and told me it had been taken care of. The next morning during History class, my History teacher not only apologized for his behavior but made a public announcement of it to the whole class.
Just as a side note, the History Teacher was not a bad man by any stretch of the imagination. I grew to love him just the same and he was actually the only teacher I brought a gift back from the Bahamas for. So I know this story makes him sound bad, but he must have just had an off day that day.
Four different things spring to mind when I think back on this time of my life.
1. Persecution can come from anywhere - We should always be on our feet and prepared for persecution and what others may do to us. Not become paranoid obviously, but make sure you know what you believe in and can defend it. The hardest persecution can come from the most unlikely of sources, such as a teacher who honestly does care about you but just had a bad day.
2. God will send help - There is nothing on this earth that can happen to you that God cannot help you with. Jeremiah 32:17 states "Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." I know it may seem kind of silly to relate this to the death of a rabbit, but at that age I honestly didn't know what to do about the ridicule I had received. However God knew ahead of time and opened my English teacher's ears to the comments in her class. He provided the help I needed at that moment.
3. Don't be quick to judge people - The most unlikely source for me at the time, my English Teacher, was the one who was there to help me out. I had previously (unfairly) thought that she was just mean and thought too highly of her classes. How wrong I was. She wanted nothing more than to help every one of us succeed in life and as I said, I owe much of my success to her.
4. Even from sadness can come something good - Sure, there was sadness in the death of my pet, and sadness in the ridicule I received, but my eyes were opened to a new way of thinking about my English Teacher. Also after the apology, the History teacher and I let bygones be bygones and it opened up the channel for a healthy Teacher Student relationship as well. There is always something good to come from something bad even if we don't see it for a long time.
I wasn't the only one who learned a lesson that day. I'm not sure about my History Teacher, but I know I will never forget that day.