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A Teacher, Strong and Kind

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The buzz of chattering mouths subsided as the teacher entered the classroom.
“Good morning class. I am Riffat Monaf, and I will be your Geography teacher.” Riffat Monaf… an interesting name and an even more interesting person. Her introduction had taken place about six years ago, and since then I have never met a more influential person in my life.

Mrs. Monaf not only awed me with her vast knowledge of Geography, but also won me over with her kindsmile and warm aura.

It was in her class that I traveled to the highest mountains and to the deepest seas from the comfort of the classroom. I learned about the vast oceans, the erupting volcanoes, the snow-capped mountains and the lush valleys. She would often relate her adventures about traveling to different parts of Pakistan and basking in our country’s natural beauty. In this way she shed light on an aspect of Pakistan seldom discussed in the news, and evoked in me a strong sense of patriotism.

Never can I forget the glow of her face when she talks about how truly beautiful this world and our country is. If I trace back my love for the environment and geography, I find her to be the source of this passion to preserve nature. If one day I become an environmentalist I know that I’ll have her to thank for it.

Apart from this, she has always greeted me with open arms and she calls her students “my children”. Her motherly and homely vibes are unmatched, and her presence is always felt. Now that I look back on how much time I’ve spent with her, I feel more keenly than ever before about how she has affected me. Mrs. Monaf’s morals and values rubbed off on me and I have always taken her advice into consideration. She has been one of the most consistently good things in my life.

Currently, she is fighting a battle against breast cancer, and it pains me to know that after all she has done for me; I can do nothing for her except pray. Whenever I see her in school, she still maintains that kind smile and an expression so soft that it melts my heart. Despite all that she has gone through, she has remained strong and hopeful; never once letting her smile falter. Mrs. Monaf still talks passionately about Geography, and I know that I can never fathom what a truly great person she has been in my life. And now I write this, as a small way to thank and acknowledge her for being who she is:
When summer changes to winter
I hear her voice in the changing weather
Urging me to spread my wings
And take the leap, because
We can never know till we try
And should I fail, I know that
She will still smile and aid me
Come what may, she will be there
And when the snow melts and the flowers sprout
She will hold my hand and lead me
Through canyons and blooming fields
Through plateaus and plains
And teach me the allure of the smile
And how it brings out the sun on a dark day
Now, as I raise my hands towards the sky
I pray for her pain to subside and her smile
To forever remain on those lips which
Voiced guidance and wisdom to my naivety.



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