Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The "Morrie" in my life

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom was the first book I bought after moving in to my new home. I watched it once on cable, and I find it emotionally riveting. It's about a professor's relationship with that of a former student, more so a friend, who after years of absence, found their way again. And honestly, it made me want to see my second grade teacher.

She is Ms. Nerissa Cabral. I knew her when I was eight, after dropping from the first section, I became one of her students. And it was a blessing in disguise I think.

I never really assumed myself as studious or diligent that early. Besides, I barely passed my 1st grade subjects, obviously a non- favorite and a wallflower. When I started attending her classes, the new environment made me more composed, and accepting. I made a lot of friends and going to school was no longer a chore. Surprisingly, it was in my second grade when I started to really take some time and interest myself with learning.

I find her ways not boring. She encourages us to read a page or two from our books each day; always assisting other kids in reading to the point of giving us an extra time after school. To many, she would pass as typical, expectingly eager being her a teacher but to me, it's more than that- there is sincerity in her eyes; genuineness of thought and a concerned look each day as she faces us, her students. We feared her naturally for she is someone you would not dare come across. Seemingly...she knows the boundaries of teaching yet takes good care of us all like her children. I love that about her...

You've got to understand that my so called affinity with her is personal for she was the first person to make me realize that I am somebody. I don't know how it happened and for what reasons but Ms. Cabral had been the one who had seen this skinny, fragile looking girl and turn her into a vibrant soul...into someone who sees herself.

That because of her belief, I started to believe myself. When she made me join my first declamation contest, I could not believe, I'm actually doing it, preparing for it. She asked my mother's permission so we could train after school; she would speak to me as if I'm her age and correct every mistake with conviction. At eight, it appeared like I was playing but with a goal. That I'm slowly giving in to the process of improving and doing what has to be done to win.
After the competition, I went on winning not the medal but the confidence every eight year-old needs. I was changed from then on.

I am not relating this to remind myself of old glories. I am reminding myself of how I came to be with people who blessed my life tremendously.
It's not about my first win. It's about a teacher who taught her student discipline and respect.
It's about a teacher who changed a young girl's life as she went on to become what she is now.
A person who will never lose hope. A person who shares her life and self to other people.

I learned from Ms. Nerissa Cabral. She is my mentor. My first teacher. The "Morrie" in my life.

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