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I remember the first class we had. You looked tall, great, distinct, steady and unshakable. And your voice. So loud and shrill. We can hear you even if you’re teaching the other classes. First thing I thought about you is, oh my God, I’m not going to make any trouble with him.
But in that first day, you said, ‘My name is Thomas. Not ‘Tomas’ but ‘Thomas. Do you understand!?’ You didn’t sure about it, so you ordered one of us to write it in the blackboard.
That’s really funny of you, and my bad, scary impression has just all gone.
You always make the class. I don’t think civics is THAT kind of fun, cool lessons, but you manage to make it to be like that. If someone being noisy and interrupted your lesson, you’ll order him to do bending for about 5 series. Why? Because, just like what you said, instead of making noise because of our excessive-power, we better do some exercise so we can be healthy. ‘Then it’ll be died-of-exhausting, not died-of-mad-civics-teacher. I don’t want the jail, anyway.’ And then we laugh, and you erased all-bored-sleepy-face through our faces.
‘Do leapfrog under the table!’ (How can we manage to do leapfrog UNDER the table!?)
‘Where’s my felt-tip marker!?’ (Because you’re always write with the marker instead of the chalk. And, anyway, Sir, it’s the class’ marker not yours. But we always love you when you said it.)
‘Cabok pake kumis!’ (Which is mean, “I’ll strike you with my mustache!”)
And you’re not, like, ALWAYS joking around all the time. I know, you always the gentle man in the century. You teach your own sons hardly, because you don’t want them to be weak. But instead, you teach your daughter with the soft, gentle attitude.
‘Do not ever harm the girl,’ it’s somewhat like your principle in your life.
‘If you had something hard in your life,’ because I’m really not a normal kid, with my divorce-depressed-parents who make me cry almost all the time, ‘you can tell me about it. Maybe I can’t really help, but I’ll be a good listener.’
We spent almost three years together. You’ve never thought about yourself. You always thought about your students.
Those two days before you went to Ambon, because of your illness, we cried. Because we heard what’d you said to Mr. Daniel, the new civics teacher in charge and Mrs. Maya, our economy’s teacher when they paid you a visit.
‘Daniel, you must teach my children with your deepest sincere. Because they all are good kids, and they’ve never made anything difficult for me.’
‘Mey, take care of those kids, okay? Because I love them so much.’
You always and always thought about us. And in the same day, when we went to your house, you made us cried out loud again. Not only because you looked VERY different than that tall, great, distinct man with a loud voice we knew, but because in the time like this, you still thought about us. You still prayed for us. You still served us one by one even you really must to take a rest.
You looked so thin. All the voice gone, changed with low temper voice, weak hand. But you still smile at us, gentle and softly. You told us to obey our parents. You told us that God have never made any ‘Obey your teacher’ rule, but ‘Obey your parents’. I don’t know whether you really tell this because there am ME in that room or you just say it without any other purpose. I’ve never got a good relationship with my divorced-single-parents-Mum.
But didn’t you realize, Sir, that you’ve already became our parents? We’d love to call you Papa. We’d love to hear advice from you, because you’re not told us to do nor don’t do that or this, but you gently explain, told us what better. With those understanding through your eyes, instead of mad face. For me and maybe for so many friends of me too, you even more that my own Dad.
Sir, you promised us to come to our graduation ceremony in the July.
But now you’ve already gone.
It’s March 2, 2010. The day we’re not going to forget. We’re doing the final exam try-out in that moment, when we suddenly heard from the microphone, ‘Let we pray for our friend, teacher, and Papa, Mr. Thomas, who’s passed away this morning.”
There’s a pause.
Then we cried.
There so many memories about you. In the mass held because of your dead in my school, so many want to share their experience about you.
‘I’m still remembering, when we, the soccer club, plays with Mr. Thomas,’ said Yakub, one of the member of soccer club, which is trained by Mr. Thomas. ‘He got tired, and then lied down in there. We’re all laughs, and said, “Just like in the beach, huh, Sir?”
‘There’s mid-term exam, and Mr. Thomas is the watchman of my class. I said to him, “Sir, I’m so stiff today. I’m studied all night.” Then he’s suddenly massaged my shoulder. I’m startled. I don’t have any idea that Mr. Thomas would massage me.’
I realize so little memories I had about you. But I know, you’re not like, just gone. I know, you’re still, and always stay in my heart.
Did you remember what I told you, the last time we met, Sir?
I told you, ‘Sir, you must never give up.’
And you answered, ‘Oh, no. I won’t give up and I’ll fight until the end. And let God do the rest.’
We, all of your student, will keep pray for you, every time.
And we still waited for you in the front row of audience in our graduation ceremony.
We love you, Papa.
You’re the best, best, best, best ever teacher in the world.

By: Michelle Tanera
Address: lengkong kecil 5

Bandung, Indonesia, 40261
email: miss_yell99@live.com
phone: 022-91205416
school: Santa Angela Junior High

teacher name: Thomas Aquino Yerompase



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