While I was filling out a job application, I was required to write an essay about a teacher who made an impact on my life. Writing the essay brought back a lot of memories that I felt I would like to share.
Growing up we were surrounded by ‘crazy’ teachers to say the least. I don’t know if they were frustrated by the work load and menial pay they were getting, or it was a cultural thing. But the teacher was always right, you never talked back or questioned any of their rules, no matter how absurd they might have been. We had one teacher whose rule was that we should never rip a page out of our exercise books, please note we had to buy this books ourselves and they were not provided by the teacher or the school. However, this being one of his rules, he would randomly have one class lesson where he would ask us to exchange our books with out desk mate and then we were to count the pages and if any of the sheets of paper were missing we would tell him and then you would canned depending on how many sheets of paper were missing. This is just one example out of the numerous ones I can state.
Anyway, going to school to such an environment was horrible to say the least, the only thing that made it bearable was the fact that everyone’s school was the same and so to us it was the norm. At some point I really hated school, the fact that I didn’t have an option but to keep going, is the reason I went, dropping out was not an option, we didn’t even know that people did that, and besides if I would have decided to drop out, where would I have lived, definitely not in my parents house.
So amongst all that craziness, Mrs. Musundi was a God send for me. She was my favorite teacher and I had her in several different classes through out school. She was soft-spoken, patient and kind, a totally different kind of teacher from what we were accustomed to. She commanded respect without being too loud or aggressive. I loved her so much that when I needed some private tutoring, my mum asked Mrs. Msundi if she could do it and she agreed. Her gently nature was the thing the drew me most to her. She listened, and elaborated well. She was a mother of11 with one pair of twins, and worked full time as a teacher and still had time to tutor. How she remained calm and patient with all of that on her plate remains a mystery to me.
I recently saw on Facebook that she passed away. I reached out to her son who explained to me that she had cancer. I told him of how much I loved her and he was so touched, he said he kept hearing of so many things that she had done that he never knew of, and how she was such an inspiration.
Teacher’s have such an enormous task, to teach young impressionable minds, however I think the things that they teach the most, are not the things written in books and class schedules but rather the things they teach through their actions. Mrs, Musundi taught me that amongst all the craziness and evilness that exists in the world, their is still some kindness, patience and compassion. You don’t have to conform, you can be different and stand for what you believe in, and in that, the greatness impact is made and lessons taught.