The teacher with the greatest impact on my life is a lovely man called Mr Rice. He was a guidance teacher at the high school which I attended. Mr Rice was a lovely gent with a Southern Irish accent who was quietly spoken, a man of few words but when he spoke everyone listened.
School for me was filled with abuse and frustration, it was not a place of learning, happiness or a safe haven. I was forever getting beat-up, being called names and basically shunned by other pupils.
In high school I wasn’t coping with it for a time I would be truant, walk out of classes and for nearly a year refuse to actually. But when I was at school, I would go to classes, but during the breaks I had taken to hiding in stairwells, so the bullies couldn’t find me therefore they could call me names or physically attack me. By the time I was in my fourth year of high school, I was such a problem kid that I was forever in the headmaster office, it was him who asked Mr Rice to help and support me.
Mr Rice was the first one to realize that I couldn’t read or write. He was also the first one to see what the bullies were doing to me psychologically. He took the time to teach the basics of reading and writing and because I was living on my own he showed me how to recognize things in the shops by watching the adverts and looking at how they were coloured. He was the one who enabled me to stand up for myself.
Although, he only helped me for last year of my schooling, he started me on the road of learning, started me gaining self confidence and having some self worth.
When I go back to where I grew up I make it a point of going back to my high school and although Mr Rice no longer teaches there, I say a little prayer of thanks to him.
I have met him as an adult and I have thanked him personally, he told me it was nothing he was just doing his job. It was more than that for me, I just wish I could show how much he helped me and if it wasn’t for him I don’t think I would have done what have done since leaving school.
It might have only been your job Mr Rice but you have had a huge impact my life, so thank you.