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Some Teachers You Don’t Forget

“Where’s your lunch?” Mrs. Hop asked me.
“I’m not hungry,” I said.
Mrs. Hop studied me closely.

I felt like I was in trouble for having no lunch when all the other second graders did.
She walked to her desk and pulled a five dollar bill out of her purse.
She then walked back, knelt down and with a smile said,
“Here, go buy whatever you want in the cafeteria.”

I took the five dollars and ran as fast as I could to the cafeteria.
I didn’t have breakfast that day, so I was starving.
I decided on a bowl of mac and cheese and an apple juice.
I then proudly joined my classmates at the lunch tables.
I was fitting in with the others kids, eating my lunch too.

Up until then, I always hid in the bathroom stall during lunch time in order to keep from being made fun of for not having lunch and being “poor.”
But today, no one messed with me.

As I finished my mac and cheese, the lunch bell rang. I picked up my tray and placed it in the bin.

Back in class, I spent the last hour of the day pretending to know how to read.

 

   Later That Night…

I wait for everyone to go to bed, then I quietly sneak into the kitchen from my bedroom.
I put two pieces of white bread in the toaster, wrap them in foil, cram them into my backpack and then run back to bed feeling satisfied.
Now I have lunch for tomorrow, and I don’t have to get made fun of by kids or questioned by Mrs. Hop.

 

The Next Day…

It’s lunch time and it’s raining outside.
Mrs. Hop decides to keep us all inside the classroom for lunch.
I begin to get nervous.
I don’t want Mrs. Hop to see my “toast” lunch, but I also don’t want to eat nothing in front of her and the whole class.

So, I reluctantly pull out the foil wrapped toast and open it.
I stack the two slices of old toast so it looks like a sandwich.

I take a huge, crunchy bite. The toast is so hard that my bite makes a loud sound that causes everyone to look up at me, including Mrs. Hop.
“Is that your toast from this morning?” she asks looking down at my crumb filled desk.

I say nothing. I don’t want to draw any more attention to myself.

Mrs. Hop picks up the classroom phone and quietly talks to someone.
Five minutes later I have a cheeseburger and apple juice sitting in front of me.

 

    Now

I can’t name a single college professor.
I can’t remember the name of my very first friend.
But, I’ll never forget Mrs. Hop.

She fed me when I needed food.
She stood up for me when kids made fun of my inability to read.

And I clearly remember the day she brought my guardians into the classroom.
She sternly told them I needed to be bathed, fed and helped with homework everyday.

She noticed I wasn’t being taken care of and tried to bring structure to an unstructured childhood.

I still think of Mrs. Hop from time to time.
Because some teachers you never forget.

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P.s. Is there a teacher you’ll never forget?

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