by Hassan Hayati
It was the end of spring and the educational year was getting to its end. The final exams were on the way in less than a month and some students were really out of the picture. I as a teacher thought, students are not very serious and some efforts must be done by me.
I tried some mock exams and reviewed the lessons times and times. Some students were still unresponsive and did not get along and this made me feel unable to be a successful teacher, consequently unable to show my abilities to the school authorities. I was thinking of what to do to attract them to the subjects all time.
“Hey, boys don’t forget to write the answer of the questions for next time.” I shouted at the end of class and since I decided to check their efforts, and also the extent of their obedience, I repeated my sentence once more “Don’t forget please.”
When I entered the class next session there was a mess around, most of the boys shouting and jumping around. I first called the roll and then started telling them the importance of our reviews and why we are so restrictive for their education but again some noises and reactions made me very angry and this time I decided to show them how much angry I had become.
“Come on let me see your assignments and anyone without that should be punished,” I told this and took a ruler from my desk. Started carefully reading the questions and answers, I shouted for the first students, “Why are you so careless and wrote so bad handwriting?”
“Sorry teacher, I promise to write the neatest next time,” said the boy low and shaking.
I splashed the ruler on his desk and said I will check his notebook tomorrow again and he must write the sentences again.
I went on and it was the second bench time and in the first sit, I saw Hassan, he continued searching his bag and while disappointed started explaining, “I have answered all questions neat and correct, but my notebook, I just lost it, I can’t find it, sir” he went on with his eyes full of tears,” Please sir, I will find it.” The more he begged the more nervous I became.
Come on boy, raise your hand and open your palm, I ordered and while he was trying to convince me, I hit the ruler to his palm firmly, and the second to his left hand, I was going for the third one to his right hand again and he downed his head and the ruler ran into his right cheek unwanted. His round, innocent face was so red and afraid, but the livid scar of the ruler was still visible and this time I
tried to control myself. A silence was spread in the classroom and only his low voice came to my ears. I had shown a surfeit of restriction. My head was really confused and a prick came exactly into my brain. I regretted and put the ruler aside while my hand was shaking.
So much of severity? Why? Repeating questions like that a voice made me freeze,
“His notebook is here, sir,” said the student beside him with a fear in his voice.
It was dropped under the bench when they were playing before the class started. I took a look at the notebook so neat and clean, questions in blue and answers in green pen colours.
I was really ashamed of what has happened, but I tried to tranquilize my anger this time and I was a teacher after all. All boys were quiet and no one said anything unnecessary until the end of the session. The next hours also went on and at end of day Hassan’s face was totally inflated and purple. This made me more sorry and ashamed of what I had done.
Next morning, I entered the school and as if waiting for a new event I saw Hassan standing by the teachers’ office with his hand taken by his father.
He was staring at the floor and his father started while a sweet smile was on his face.
“Hello Mr.Teacher, I would like to appreciate all your efforts for my son.” He said with a very kind voice. “I am here to get your permission to take my son to see a doctor for his face,” he went on ashamed for his son being so naughty in his own view.
I was entirely shocked to see what was happening. Was he making fun of me? Was he going to condemn me of what I had done?
My brain was challenging with the questions of this sort, and I was preparing myself to defend my big mistake when he said.
"Look sir, he says that he has fallen from the steps yesterday and his cheek is so inflated".
All worlds rotated around my head when I heard that, Hassan had not told them what had happened in the class, the day before.
He continued "Falling from the steps might have made his cheek bone broken sir'
I want to take him to the doctor for that."
My tongue was really tied, I only shook my head and confirmed his decision and added “Ok. You are right, his health is more important than his education.”
He taught me a big lesson that day “People’s reputation must be safe kept, although it bothers yours." *** Note: This is a story being inspired from a very touching poem called "Teacher", by Persian contemporary poet, Sohrab Sepehri.