She walked to the conference room with steps full of pride and happiness .She had waited for this moment all over her life. Publishing a successful book was a great success especially for such a young writer. Hesitation, she felt at first, but self-confidence when she faced her audience. She gave a quick glance to check his presence, but he was not there. Again she hesitated and did not know what to say. Then the door was opened and he entered. She gave him a last quick look at his face, directly into his eyes. First they seemed to have tears in them ready to spill over, then the tears turned to a twinkle like a reflection of the starlight. She was lost for a time, then took a long breath and addressed her audience:
“I welcome all of you. First I thank God for his guidance and support. Second, I want to pay homage and appreciation to those who contributed, directly or indirectly, to the development of my work, and to thank my teachers, students and friends who served as an inspiration to me. I also thank the Teacher Training School administration for its efforts in encouraging students and helping them. Here also, I would like to express my gratitude to Adam, my husband and first reader, for the understanding and encouragement he has shown my work. And not to forget, I owe a dept of gratitude to a teacher of mine. A teacher who changed my life and made me stood here addressing you. He was my first inspiration to write my book which I titled Better Teachers, for the hope of changing society’s views toward teachers. The teaching career, nowadays, has become an alternative choice when people find themselves jobless. Teachers have lost respect and are no more seen as leaders and pillars of society, may be because teachers themselves lost interest in their job or circumstances killed their ambitious souls…” She stopped when the audience rose to applaud. At that moment, she felt happiness that once thought was impossible. That what reminded her of her early years when she was just a student in The Teacher Training School. The student was sitting all alone holding books and checking time regularly. She was waiting for her friends; lost in her thoughts, and unconsciously the books fell down from her hands. She bent forward to pick them up. “I’m just wasting my time” she addressed herself when she saw her notebook. She took it and hided it in her bag. Then she opened one of the books and in front of her, yet she stared off into space; she looked so sad. Three weeks passed and she received no reply from him. The girl became more and more hopeless. “He does not care about my writing” she thought. His bad treatment made her lose interest in writing, but still her thoughts and ideas blared. It was a promise she gave to herself and her parents to realize her dream and be a famous writer. She looked around her to see happy, sad pessimistic faces. She was of another world, a world in which they had no part. “Why he is evading me? He has shown interest in my writing, he promised to read and evaluate my story.” She started questioning herself but found no answers. It was twelve o’clock and she was in urgent need to meet Mr. Delhi to discuss some points in her dissertation. She gathered her books and walked towards teachers’ room, drawn in her deep thoughts ‘ocean again. Her studies, training, her life away from family, her fiancé and her dreams were what she was lost in. the door was half-open when she reached the room. She tried to draw a smile on her hopeless face to hide her sadness. Mr. Delhi was there, sitting and chatting with another teacher. She was about to get in but she stopped when she saw her notebook between her teacher’s hands, with an ironic smile on his face.
“What is that? “Asked the teacher who was there.
“Just a story, a student gave me. She wanted me to read it, “ he replied touching his forehead with his fingers to indicate his own esteem.
“I didn’t know we have talented students in this school” said the teacher surprisingly.
Then the girl’s teacher threw the notebook saying:” I did not find time to read it, and I don’t think I’ll do. You know how I am busy these days.”
The student was still there standing by the door when she heard him. She felt deceived and felt weakness in her body. She did not know how much she stood there; it could had been seconds or minutes, may be longer.
“Excuse me Ms. can I pass?” a gentle voice made her aware where she was. She had just moved forwards to let him enter the room, without even raising her head to see who was speaking. Blind with embarrassment, confusion and pain she left the room swearing to herself that she would forget writing and forget that she had ever gave him the notebook. Mr. Delhi welcomed the presence of Mr. Fetni and excused himself leaving the room. Mr. Fetni opened his briefcase to look for a pen to prepare his lesson; his papers fell down. He started gathering them and, suddenly, he saw a red notebook. It was exactly under the chair in which Mr. Delhi sat. He held it thinking it was Mr. Delhi’s one.
The hopeless girl was lost for the coming days. She started losing interest in writing and study. What it made it more painful for her was her fiancé. He did never appreciate her dreams, money and materials were all what interested him. She had always given him what she was writing but received no feedbacks. He was too busy to devote much time to her.
“Have you read my story I gave you a month ago?” she asked her fiancé one time while he was driving her home. She knew he did not. She had taken it secretly from his office when she found it thrown among his draft papers.
“You know business dear. I found no time but I’m sure it was good, I trust your writing”
“Give it back to me so. I need it”
“Well,” he said “I forgot to tell you. Yesterday when I was tiding my office, I didn’t find it, but I’m sure…”
“Cut it off” she interrupted him shouting, her tears went softly on her cheek.
That was the last time she spoke to him. She had told her mother about her decision; she did not need him any more. Days later, she was afraid of the decision she had taken, yet she felt free and more comfortable. To forget all her problems, she decided to focus on her study and forget all what is related to writing.
After a week, Mr. Fetni met Mr. Delhi. While both literature teachers were having a chat, Mr. Fetni, occasionally, remembered the notebook and gave it back to his colleague.
“Thanks. It is not my notebook. It belongs to a student of mine; she gave it to me to read it but I didn’t. I did find no free time” said Mr. Delhi with a tone of anger.
“I found it thrown in teachers’ room; I guess you didn’t throw it on purpose”
“I was a bit of anger at that time, I threw it unconsciously. In fact I forgot totally about it”
“I hope she didn’t see you doing it because I remember there was a girl beside the door that day,” Ms. Fetni said ”you should have been the student, at least don’t deceive her. If you are not interested in helping her, I’ll do by myself. I just want to know her name and her class”
“Like usual my friend; you are always in a hurry to help students. I wonder which joy you find in doing so,” he continued ”She is called Lina, a fifth year student of English”
“Thanks. I will try to do my best for her, she may be the last student I help before I take my retirement. Besides, we don’ find such a student every day” said Mr. Fetni with great enthusiasm.
The day after, Mr. Fetni looked for Lina in English Department. He asked some girls and they informed him where she was. He headed directly to Lina who was sitting all alone in front of the library. He stood there watching her, until his feet took him closer; she was the same girl he saw last week.
“Excuse me Ms.; I guess you are Lina. I’m Mr. Fetni, a teacher of literature” he said when she raised her head answering ”Yes sir. I am Lina”
“ happy to see you. Yesterday, a colleague of mine asked me to read a story which was written on a red notebook. I asked about its writer and told me it was you. So I am here to discuss it with you’’.
Lina did not want; she had lost enthusiasm for writing but his bright face made her feel less depressed. Joining her to the library, he told her his first impression:
“I liked your way of telling events. It seemed to me as if everything was real. Your colourful English made me completely involved; I have spent the whole night reading. Believe me, I couldn’t put it down”
“That is kind of you sir. I have based the story on my own experience that’s why I couldn’t find a suitable end”
“Make the end you want for your real life because if you believe deeply in something, you get it. It is us who make our sandwiches in life” said Mr. Fetni accompanying his words with a cheerful smile on his old face.
“But sir, I find a difficulty in maintaining writing for a long time. I do always stop when I reach certain number of pages. I didn’t understand why”
“It is Because of reading. Just try to read as much as you can; read what interest you, what energize you”
The coming weeks were full of classes and books to read for Lina; that enlarged her ideas. She started keeping a small notebook in which she wrote any idea came to her mind. Later, she had to buy a large one. At first, she had found a great difficulty in combining between her study and reading. Sleep deprivation and the deadly conditions in her dormitory did affect her study and health. Lina was obliged to work hard and do more efforts, yet she felt happy to do what helped in approaching her dream, especially with the encouragement Mr. Fetni showed. She was spending much more time with him discussing what she was reading and writing. He, also, advised her to use internet where she subscribed in web sites of writing English. Lina did not only improve her English with Mr. Fetni; he did also teach her how to be happy. He kept always saying that only happiness could overcome problems. Finals came and her journey in university approached its end; she did well and passed her final year. She was happy to start teaching but sad to leave her friends and teachers. She was appointed in a secondary school where she was living; months had passed and she was admired by all. Her writings continued and were all sent to Mr. Fetni through email. Soon after, a colleague of her asked for her hand. He was a teacher of physics named Adam. Although he did not master English very well, he used to read what she was writing and give his opinion. She had accepted and they have got married just after three months from the first class she taught. After her first year in teaching, Lina wanted to pass Majestere. She had succeeded in her mission and become a teacher in the Teacher Training School. She was very happy to go there again and be a colleague to her previous teachers. Also, she was too enthusiastic to meet Mr. Fetni again. It last a whole year without seeing him. It was five minutes before her class was scheduled, when she read the announcement.
”Noooooooooooo!” Lina screamed feeling anguish and pain in all her body. If only she could have thanked him for what he did, and tell him she had become a teacher, a teacher of literature, exactly like him. It was over; she collapsed, her tears running down her cheek. It was announced that Mr. Fetni had died in an accident yesterday. Talking to no one, she came back home missing her first day as teacher in the school.
When Adam saw her in such a state, he knew there was something wrong. He didn’t ask her until she told him herself. Lina didn’t want to teach in the school any more. Her husband tried calm her:
“Listen carefully to what I’m going to say,” Said Adam hugging his wife ”your teacher would never forgive you if you give up like this. He had gave all help and support he could, not to see you weak and sad. I know he was an important person for you, but this is life. We will all disappear one day. Life should make you more courageous and powerful. Try to be like Mr. Fetni; try to help students the way he did’’
Adams’ words were all what Lina needed at that moment to regain hope. Days passed and she felt better; she resumed teaching and her sadness disappeared gradually. She was astonished when she found a student’s family name Fetni to discover later that he was Mr. Fetni’s son. Lina was so pleased because she kept a promise herself to be always grateful to her teacher and to help students as he did.
Because of her determination, efforts and all help her teacher and husband gave, she could publish her first book Better Teachers. She didn’t know what she was going to do if her husband did not enter the conference room. Although he came late, she was so happy to see him abandoning his own classes to attend her conference. Thanks to all who helped, she was standing now facing her audience discussing her book.
We, as future teachers, should never deal with learners as passive ones. We should appreciate their abilities and accept their personalities. May be because of a word we say, a student’s dream collapses, or because of a smile we draw on our faces, a student’s life changes. There may be one Lina or more in our classes needs our help and support to take her step toward success…
It was a promise Lina gave herself and her family to be a successful writer. Joining the Teachers Training School she found those who discouraged and those who encouraged her. Guided by Mr.Fetni, she knew how to be a teacher and how to be a writer…
This story was written in a competition organized by our teacher of Reading Techinques. I and my classmate who wrote it with me hope you enjoy it