Super Fifth Grade Teacher!

by Ashish
(Jaipur, Rajasthan, India )

Look, up in the sky! It’s faster than a digital calculator! Holds as much knowledge as a set of World Book Encyclopedias! Knows more “corny” jokes then anyone I know! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! Wait a minute…it’s, it’s…my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Ajay.

Seriously, Mr. Ajay is quite the teacher. I got to Allgood Elementary in Dallas, Georgia and Mr. Ajay has been teaching there for about 4 years. I had heard a lot about him and officially met him when I was in 3rd grade.

I was in the Science Club, and Mr. Ajay was one of the teachers involved in that. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Science Club and soon learned the he had a love for Science, had an answer for just about every question and loved to crack jokes. It was an extraordinary experience, and I had a great time and learned a lot.

So, this year, going into the 5th grade, when I learned I had Mr. Ajay, I was very excited! I knew that this year was going to be one I wouldn’t forget. Boy was I surprised! The first few weeks were a little hard getting used to. Everything was different from what I imagined. The rules, the “HOMEWORK”, the jokes, I mean, it was really strange. After being in his class for a few months, I realized that what I took for “strictness” was actually concern for our well being. By “our”, I mean the entire class. Mr. Ajay comes across as very stern and rather “hard-core” at times. But I’ve learned that he genuinely cares about all of his students and wants them to do their best. I know he is trying to prepare us for middle school and what lies ahead.

Now, about why’s he’s my hero. Well, Mr. ajay has been a wonderful influence so far. Fortunately, I am in the “Gifted Program” and excel in Math, Reading and Writing. I know that sounds great, but sometimes it’s a problem. For example, in Math, at the beginning of the year, we took our Placement Test. I did very well and Mr. Ajay thought that I was capable of doing work above 5th grade level. He took it upon himself to speak with our principal and about possibly supplementing my Math so that I would be challenged and learn more. I couldn’t believe it! That meant more work for Mr. Ajay. He would have to make my assignments on his own time and teach me Math that was different from the rest of the class.

In the weeks that followed, we had to do testing every day to make sure I was learning and retaining what I learned. If there was a problem,
he would work with me until I understood it completely. He never lost his patience and was always willing to help. He would also come up with Math puzzles, problem solving activities, logic puzzles and anything that would benefit my learning.

But the amazing thing is that he is like that with everyone in the class! We have 30 students, and I have seen a line all the way to the door with classmates waiting to ask questions about, or fix, a Math problem. And again, never once have I seen him ever get aggravated, lose patience or make anyone feel bad, no matter how many times they have to come up and ask.

Also, Mr. Ajay's approach is rather comical at times. He has been everything from a blooming daisy, to a country hick, a disco dancer (to Spanish no less), a creative bubble wrap paper, the savior of lost and forgotten basketballs, a singer and he has even done handstands and cartwheels. He is creative and cracks the corniest jokes I’ve ever heard! I mean he will even make it a point tell us he’s funny and to laugh! Too funny.

One of the biggest things I admire about Mr. Ajay is his support in all the things his students do. And I don’t mean just schoolwork. For instance, if a group of kids wants to make up a play and do it at recess, he’s the first to “plop” on the ground and give them his undivided attention. He makes sure that he lets them know what a wonderful job they did. If you tell him about something you are doing outside of the classroom, whether it’s a baseball tournament, a chorus performance, or just a party you are having, he will make it a point to ask you about it when he sees you again.

I have had some wonderful teachers in the past, but I know that this year with Mr. Ajay will be one of my best and one I will never forget. He is caring, kind and funny. He is very supportive and sincere. He also stands his ground and I admire him for that. He is a great influence and role model to the students at Allgood.

I know that years from now, I will look back on my 5th grade year and remember Mr. Ajay and how he was my teacher, my mentor, my example and... my hero. And I know that, if possible, he’d be dressed in his Super Hero costume, all in orange, with a huge “T” on the front for “teacher. Or perhaps for “Tennessee” Vols, who knows?

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