When I was eleven or twelve, I was sat in a history lesson at school. It was a sunny day, I was bored and there was a teacher I didn’t really know covering the lesson. I sat in my seat and passed notes and threw paper and wrote rude poems and generally messed around. The teacher called me over to her desk.
“You know what I think?” she asked, much to my surly pre-teen unamusement. “I think it is a hot day and you are clever, and bored.” I was surprised. I think after that she gave me some exercise or another to do, and I did it. Quietly. Peacefully.
In the years that came, she became one of my regular teachers. I have rarely encountered one so enthusiastic.
When I was fourteen, I was hospitalised for mental health problems. She came to visit me and she brought books. I was in the year before GCSEs began in full but the books she brought weren’t textbooks. I read them cover to cover.
Tonight, we met up again. Some people have a way of making you feel good about yourself. She is one of those people. She is also one of those people who seems fully comfortable in herself and, in being so, is relaxing to be around. I haven’t seen her in three years, so there was ground to cover and a million things to say. There is never time to say a million things and so you end up saying the things that really count.
And I had so much fun.
I will always appreciate the intuition it took to see that the one throwing notes is not the “bad” one. That boredom breeds bad behaviour and any number of things can breed boredom. There are some people without whom I would not have done as well, and she is one of those people.
What I learned from her: everyone is special in his or her own way. Look out for the things that make people special. You never know how they might surprise you.