Thursday, February 10, 2011

The English Teacher

When I was in grade twelve I was still pretty clueless about what I wanted to do with my life. University registration deadlines were looming and while by this time I knew that I wanted to pursue higher education, I did not know in what.

Someone helped me make that decision, not by coercion or other means of manipulation, but by simply taking an interest in me and giving me a few nudges in areas of intellectual development.

I didn't know that Brian Jones was going to be such an influence in my life when I walked into English 30 on the first day of classes. One of the first units we studied dealt with existentialism. We analyzed a couple of stories out of an anthology. If I recall correctly, I tried to return the book, he asked me if I had read all the stories. When I answered no, he insisted that I hang onto the anthology for the rest of the term.

Mr. Jones was always very encouraging about my writing and interpretive abilities, even when being critical of my writing style, which was sometimes as clumsy and awkward as my teenage self. Still, I found myself more and more drawn to all thing literary, and finally made the decision to apply to the Faculty of Education, with a Major in English.

It turned out that my final year of high school was also Mr. Jones's final year of teaching. He retired at the end of the term and I never saw him again, but remember fondly his class, his encouragement, and him telling anecdotes about his past with his unmistakeable Welsh accent. One of my favourite photos if the one I have of my graduation day, me in my robe crossing the stage and Mr. Jones handing me my fake scroll (the real ones were mailed to us later).

I don't know if you're still out there Mr. Jones, but I want to thank you for everything. You are a large part of who I am today.

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1 comment:

orrganic said...

I had much the same experience with my 12th grade English teacher. His name was Mr Kelly. He loved what I wrote and encouraged me to keep writing. I still collect copies of everything I have published in the hopes I can one day send it to him to say thank you and look what I've done.