This footstep was tattooed on my path in February 1992. It was a footstep for a female who was in her thirties. One I happened not to like at all. Her name was Mme Liliane. She was teaching us Biology; a subject I hated, not only disliked. Having our mock exams I got a four out of sixty. It didn’t surprise me as I hadn’t studied any lesson for the assessment. The biology teacher asked me to stand up in front of the class after giving me my paper and I expected from her to scold me, to reprimand me or to send me out of class. She looked me in the eye and said in a deep voice: “I asked all your teachers about you and they said you were serious and working well. What’s up with Biology?” In a cold tone I replied that I HATED it. Mme Liliane patiently asked me to make a choice this day, either to force myself to study this subject which I hated for the three coming months till my final assessment and in this case I will get rid of it till the end of my life, or I redo this school year and lose one year of my life studying nothing but what I hated.
I bet you guessed what happened next after this conversation. This woman, whom I never met again and never thanked for what she did, truly saved me a year of my life. And this footstep taught me valuable morales. It gave me a living example of the meaning of an educator; someone who genuinely cares for his students and their lives, not just their exams and grades. Though I didn’t recognise the value of what she did on the spot, I comprehended it many years later when I became an educator myself. Her reaction on that day taught me not to take my students’ negative behaviours personally and to tolerate their irresponsible actions in their teenage, understanding that this is a phase almost all human beings go through.