The Teacher Who Chose Me

High school: either you like remembering it or you want to forget it.

Personally, it wasn’t all that bad. But it wasn’t all that good either. And I do not declare this because I was one of the popular kids. But I couldn’t say I was unpopular. After all, when one of the coolest teachers picks you out, even the A-crowd has to notice something about you.

So here it goes: I did not mean to become the editor in chief of the school annual.

That there is a revelation! I believe none of my high school friends knew that. I bet that even my parents never knew that until I told them just this week.

But how do you explain something that you never meant to happen? Let me try.

During the opening of my senior year, I thought that I should to concentrate on my studies. No more extracurricular work. I’ve made sure that, since freshman days, my high school experience would be memorable enough to last lifetimes over. And I was dead-set on leading a quiet life.

No weekend meetings. No after-school work. No going to advisers. It was really easier. Not that I was slacking off, mind you. I was molding myself to becoming a nerd by that time.

Until Sir Jordan caught me.

Everyone knew Sir Jordan. He was deputy commandant at Citizen Army Training, a leader at church, a wall of massive power on the hard court, and the only male English teacher in our school. Despite being approachable and cool with most kids, I didn’t care to know anything more than what he showed in class. I too like him but I always saw him as a teacher. Never as a friend.

Guess that’s why it’s easy for me to recall him catching me before I got out of the gate. Friends could easily catch your attention with just one word or even just a slight touch. Sometimes even their mere presence or shadow is enough to stop you. He had to make sure his hand was in my way, so that I wouldn’t escape.

Well, it wasn’t like I had a choice. Seriously.

Although I cannot recall verbatim, I know the position of editor in chief was never offered to me. It was put on me, like some cap or sticker.

You know how sometimes a teacher would ask for volunteers but no one would volunteer? And no one in the class wants to because they know what was in store if they did? Frankly, I didn’t know what was in store—just that I wanted to avoid it. Yet I was picked out! And was it really awkward.

Probably you know of the hesitation that stood with me at that moment.

Back then, I couldn’t understand why Sir Jordan singled me out of the batch. I knew why he shouldn’t. I’m sure until now that there were others better than me. And there were even others who were like me: same grade average, same class standing, and same abilities. Possibly even secretly wanted it.

Like I said, I didn’t have a choice. Or did I? Could I have said no? Why didn’t I say no?

My train of thought then has long since left the station, its tracks and smoke disappeared. I can only surmise. Maybe it was a withdrawal of sorts. Maybe I thought of taking the risk. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint a teacher. Maybe I was bored. Maybe—by doing it—I’d discover why he picked me.

Have I discovered why he picked me? Well, I came to love the school annual in high school and even more so when I entered college. I even became a part of it on my senior year. But that’s another story.

Surely, I’ll never know why Sir Jordan decided on me. I may ask him but I’ll never get an answer. Tomorrow, he’ll be buried. So there’s no more unraveling a personal mystery. Even recreating that memory would be difficult since a great part of the high school grounds have been burned down.

While I do no credit Sir Jordan for making my senior year memorable since I don’t have much memories of him because the usual and routine has been forgotten now, he was key to it. I wouldn’t have become editor in chief—and brought heaven and hell to my classmates and the rest of the school—if wasn’t for the teacher who chose me.

——-

Sir Jordan, I don’t know if I ever thanked you for choosing me for heading the yearbook. But I am thankful. I was and I always will be. And thank you for trusting me sir.

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