It's funny how the people that influence you the most, never stay in your life for as long as you wish. Maybe that's why the entire experience gets so special. I first entered Mrs. Hilda's class when I was ten and she taught English Language and Literature. I never had strong feelings for that subject before her class. Listening to my teacher, talk of words and sentences like they were ethereal beauties that were supposed to be loved and respected, I found my passion for literature. I used to look forward to Mrs. Hilda's classes - they were a bright spot amongst long periods of math and science.
Mrs.Hilda is a zealous teacher and she enters her class with a certain vigour and temper, that I seldom saw in other teachers. While everybody told me to get away from books and be a 'normal' child for once, Mrs. Hilda made me believe that my knack for words was something to be proud of.
She makes sure that her classes were too interesting to resist. She always had a new method to make things a whole lot easier to understand and put it down on paper. She always uses references from pop culture to make things seem easy to everybody in the classroom.
In my sophomore year, we had Shakespeare and although I dreaded the idea, Mrs. Hilda went through the effort of helping create study guides, annotations and laboriously highlighting the toughest, most abstract parts of the play.
She isn't the kind of adult that makes fun of the younger generation's interests in music, films, books or any other form of entertainment. A strict rule of her classes was to respect everybody's opinion. Maybe that's why she gets ten times the respect from her class, right back at her.
Mrs. Hilda has a unique ability in seeing the beauty in every human being. To her, every child is special and every skill is a precious gift, meant to be cherished. There was a time in my school life, when a lot of my classmates were dabbling in self-harm. But when this new disorder that we had cultivated came out in the light, Mrs. Hilda was the only person who listened to the problems we had, and she didn't criticize or chide anybody. She listened and offered advice in the most amiable way possible.
Sometimes all a deranged, haunted teenager needs is a shoulder to cry on and somebody to listen.
There was this one time when I was supposed to make a speech - it was split into two and I had to narrate the first part. I stuttered, lost my train of thought and made a blunder out of the whole thing. I remember returning to class, red-faced and cowering in shame. I'd sworn off public speaking, decided not to stand in front of an audience ever again. When Mrs. Hilda found out about my new inhibition, she decided to nip the fear away while it was still a bud. She told me to take a deep breath and above all believe that I control the speech and it was not the other way round.
She made sure that I was standing on stage next week, facing an identical crowd. I hated her at that moment, but before I knew it, I was facing the glinting sun, an applauding audience and my newly resurrected self-respect.
When our finals came around the corner, she went all out to provide all the possible help we needed. I was scared of exams. Still am. But a small pat and smile can go a long way, trust me. I topped in English and when they called my name out for the award ceremony after our graduation, Mrs. Hilda was there backstage, prodding me to look cheerful. I could see pride beaming on her face and I've never been more proud of myself.
I've never found a teacher like Mrs. Hilda. Probably never will and I have made my peace with that fact. After all, if everybody you met had a lasting impact on you, they wouldn't matter at all, right?
And here I am headed to college next month and I will always cherish the fact that I was blessed enough to have such an awesome teacher.