He Almost Broke His Nose But Still Gave Me An A
A story about a foot, backside, and, a great teacher.
Your backside felt as if it was hit by a hammer.
You’re suddenly falling.
Desperately you try putting your hands to protect your (beautiful) face…
You put your left hand on the floor.
Your hand starts sliding down the ceramic floor.
You’re not safe yet.
You summon the last of your strength and plant your right hand on the ground.
You’re not letting go.
Your hand bones do not like your whole mass slamming on them.
(it’s all muscle, I know)
But you stand your ground.
You’re safe. You didn’t break anything.
Most importantly, your (beautiful) face is safe.
Who got in that situation?!
You turn around and you see…
Then I stop smiling…
and my smile turns to pure dread…
I made a mistake
“Sir! I thought you were Greg!”, the 14-year old Jordan starts whimpering.
“And, sir, I thought he was messing with my computer again…”
My voice starts to squeak…
You see me physically shrinking in the ground.
What do you do?
I know what I would do.
Slap that brat’s face with the power of a 1000 suns.
(sorry, young me, you deserved it)
My teacher didn’t do that
That was my computer science teacher after all.
He took the time off his business to come and teach at my school. He was the real deal.
He was a young guy too. Not older than 30.
But one thing was clear:
This was a first for him.
He stood, visibly shaken. Unsure about what to do.
Our eyes met.
I was sweating. Trying my best attempt at puppy eyes. It sucked.
He smiled. Then started laughing. Everyone started laughing.
I was confused.
But then he continued on with his life.
There was no punishment.
Looking back, I realize I learned two hard lessons that day.
Purpose over emotion
Even if he beat my ass after that moment (which I deserved) – nothing would’ve changed.
I happened to be a great student when it came to programming. It was fun. I was nailing it and happy to listen and learn. Anytime.
If he acted harshly in that situation he might’ve lost me as a student. Permanently.
But he wasn’t like that.
He was clearly a guy with a purpose. Teaching wasn’t glorious. It didn’t pay well. And my whole class were idiots (especially Greg).
And he cared about that more than he cared about putting a bandaid on his emotions.
So… chose purpose over emotion.
Trust matters always
That incident, in isolation, makes me a complete idiot. And I was that.
(I sometimes am that now)
But to him that wasn’t the case.
I was a nice person who actively listened in his classes. I tried to help.
We’ve had 100s of positive interactions before that moment.
He trusted me.
That trust compounded over 10 months before that moment.
Trust that I’m better than that. Or could be.
Talking to him years later, he shared:
“I knew you were better than that. Punishing you at your lowest might’ve stopped you from being your best.”
“What kind of a teacher would do that?”
Something to think about.
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