This I Believe

Kyle - Gig Harbor, Washington
Entered on November 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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“You guys are like my daughters basketball team.” He explained to us. The man vocalizing these opinions was my math teacher during my sophomore year of high school. Several times he explained to us how we, like his daughters basketball team, lacked skills because we were lazy and we did not practice enough. It was my belief however that our lack of math skills was a direct result of his lack of teaching skills. The man who was supposed to be teaching us math was not in my opinion an adequate teacher, however, he still managed to be a great influence upon my life.

From the beginning of my second year in high school, I knew that fourth period was most definitely not going to be one of my favorite classes. As lunch came to an end, I would wearily drag my self into Pre-Calculus and slump down into a desk in front of the man that filled me with an array of bad feelings. His forehead had creases in it from where lines would form while he glared at his students. His snotty attitude and country club clothing let us know that we were his burden, and that we were lucky to be in his presence. It was obvious that he had much better things to do than teach us.

Hearing what a disappointment we were to him became an almost daily occurrence. He once told my friend that he wastes more time than any one he had ever met before in his life. I found this ironic since the teacher himself wasted at least half of the class period every day exercising one of his favorite guarantees in the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech. However there were no such rights for the students. We had no constitution in our classroom to divide the power, what we had was more like a dictatorship. I knew that there must be some reason this teacher acted the way he did. Soon, I would figure it out.

As time crept on, and these familiar tendencies were always present, something occurred to me. I saw that every time he would talk about golf, he became a different person. A smile would find its way onto his face and his eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning. That is when I understood his demeanor in the classroom. He did not want to be teaching, he wanted to be playing golf. At that moment in time, the way I viewed the teacher I despised most, changed entirely. No longer did I feel irritated towards him, but had empathy and actually felt bad for him. Thanks to a miserable man, I now realized the importance of having a career you enjoy. The Declaration of Independence stresses the importance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and this I believe is the cornerstone of not only a successful life, but also a successful nation.