What's Up, Professor?

What's Up, Professor?
Fecha de publicación: 
4 September 2023
Imagen principal: 

This will be a first-person story, so please forgive any unintentional hint of immodesty. For an entire course I was a Spanish and Literature teacher at a high school in Havana. I was a third-year student at the University when we were called to fill in vacancies in several educational centers. Son of a teacher, I stepped forward without a second thought. And the adventure began.

I say adventure because during those months there was no shortage of adventures and emotions. For better and for worse. Luckily I always liked grammar and I was always an energetic reader. I had the basics, although I lacked the method. But thanks to the headmaster and my own mother, I was able to get by.

I had the illusion that my students respected me, because in my classes they didn't behave as badly as with other teachers. In the end I found out that more than respect, what they felt was solidarity: I was so young and scrawny that they saw me almost as one of their own. It was just another little boy.

More than twenty years have passed, and from time to time some grown men and women greet me on the street: "How are you, Professor?" Of course they have changed a lot, I can barely recognize them. But they immediately add: "I was your student at Felipe Poey High School."

A few days ago one of them ran into me in a line... and gave me the best compliment they've given me in years: «Thanks to you I read Don Quixote; thanks to you I began to read seriously. That's why I always say that the two most important teachers in my life were the first grader and you."

I had to hold back the tears... sentimental as I get at times.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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