My Junior High Science Teacher

by Lin
(East Providence, RI USA )

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Gaikowski. She taught junior high science. Most of my classmates did not like her. She was rough around the edges, had a harsh tone, and was not forgiving when it came to lessons.

I attended a private school, and Mrs. G. was one of the few teachers who was not a nun. She was much more strict than most of the sisters, though. She yelled at the girls for wearing too much eye makeup, and yelled at the boys for looking at the girls. She made plenty of kids cry, including myself.

But there was something about her that was indescribably likable. It was almost as if she used her harshness as a tool to get us to learn life lessons. She taught me how to be tough. You had to have a thick skin to be in her class.

When I first discovered she was going to be my teacher, I cried. Her reputation preceded her. I was shy, quiet, and scared to death of my own shadow. Mrs. G. changed that. Her no-nonsense approach made me step up to the plate of life. I learned to voice my opinions, because she made me voice them. I learned to stand up for my convictions, because she wouldn't let me back down.
I was able to concentrate more in her class than any other, because I knew I had to. Because of that, I learned to focus on other areas. Mrs. G. loved science. I hated it. By the end of the semester, I learned that I don't have to love something in order to appreciate it. She taught me that, too.

She had a soft side that few people ever saw. Mostly because they didn't open their eyes to it. I saw it. I was there when she grieved the loss of her husband. It was then that I realized Mrs. G. wasn't just a teacher, she was a human. I can't say enough about this outspoken, grumpy, opinionated woman. She was everything that kids hated in a teacher, and everything I loved in a human being. I'll never forget the woman who taught me that life isn't about watching from the shadows, it's about living in the sun.

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