#247: The new teacher - 2011-10-24
Eliana's hair became the whole class's main conversation subject, during the few minutes that were left before the bell stroke.
- " It's amazing that you can keep standing with all that weight over your head, Eliana. - Cristián, the first to speak, complained.
- " It's not too much weight. To be honest, I haven't bothered to weigh my hair, but I don't think it's over a kilogram heavy. "
- " But last year you had to ask your sister to carry it. "
- " Because I was too weak! I was just leaving the hospital! Now I feel great, kids! "
- " It looks so. "
- " You must tell us your secret, Eliana! " - exclaimed Luz, whose furiously red hair reached her waist.
- " Oh... it's complicated. You wouldn't be capable, you're too young, you lack enough patience. "
- " You're too young too, Eliana! " - Alejandra complained.
- " Yes, I am, but I'm not like you all! I'm very fussy about my hair, and I take care of it everyday! "
- " That's right, Eliana! " - Luz added - " No one of us wants to carry meters and meters of long hair like you! We just want some beauty tips, that's all! "
- " Well... the truth is that the recipes I have are precisely intended for stimulating hair growth. In order to make it look this good, I can't say much more that... "
At that moment, the bell was struck.
- " I think it'll be better if I make a list, because even then it's very complicated to explain. During recess I'll write it, Ok? "
After the usual ceremony at the first day of class, the children from Class 6-A entered the classroom. A very attractive lady arrived some minutes later, taking the post of the teacher.
- " I'm sorry for being late, children. I had a problem. "
They all stared at the woman without saying anything. They've never seen this teacher before.
- " Uh... let me present myself, I'm your new "lead teacher" (Spanish: "profesor jefe"; it's a teacher in charge of a particular class), Leticia Pizarro Mendizábal. Your old lead teacher, Matilde Arrigorriaga, is out of the country, so from now on I'll be in charge of this class and of Math classes. Physical Education classes will be taught by Ignacio Aguirre Zapata; you'll soon get the chance to know him. "
This teacher looked very nervous, and she was speaking like giving a dictation. The children soon understood that things from now on wouldn't be the same.
- " Now, children. I'll take the roll call. However, instead of just saying 'Present', I would like that you stand up, tell me the day of your birth, whether you're from this town, and if you've thought of what you want to be when you grow up. Understood, children? "
They all looked at each other, surprised of the new teacher's curiosity.
- " Very well. Let's begin. Mariana Aguirre? "
- " Present. I was born in Villarrica on August 20, 1983, and I arrived to this city six years ago. When I grow up, I want to become a nurse. "
- " Excellent! Felipe Amador? "
- " Absent. "
- " Danilo Chacón? "
- " Present. I'm from Chonchi, Chiloé. I was born on May 14, 1983, and I'm living here since last year. When I grow up, I want to be a fisherman like my dad. "
- " Very well! Mario Espinoza? "
- " Present. I was born on November 26, 1983, and I'm from this town. To be honest... I haven't thought what I want to do when I grow up. "
- " What do you like to do on your free time? "
- " I like a lot of things. Playing football, listening to music, I also like Math, although I'm not a fanatic... "
- " Okay. Don't worry, you're still in time to make a choice. Children, I ask this to you because those choices must be made at an early age, in order to get ready for Secondary School and, God willing, for University. "
They all looked at each other again. Truth was, very few of them took the idea of choosing their future seriously.
- " Alejandra Gutiérrez? "
- " Present. I was born on August 28, 1983, in San Bernardo, my father is Chilean and my mother is Italian. I moved to this town last year. When I grow up, I want to be an accountant! "
- " Very well! Macarena Hermosilla? "
- " Present. I was born on April 29, 1983, in Curanipe. I haven't thought of what I want to do when I grow up, but I love animals a lot, so I would like to be a Veterinarian.
- " Well, in order to be a Veterinarian you have to study a lot, and get used to see many disgusting things, girl. I have a cousin that's a vet, and she hasn't had it very well, she suffered a lot for animals. But veterinarians are very humane persons, very kind. It would be wonderful for you to choose this career, Macarena. "
- " Thanks, teacher. "
- " Leonora Ibáñez? "
- " Absent. "
- " Patrick López? "
- " I want to be a baker, teacher! And... I was born on October 15, 1983. That. "
- " Thanks. Ítalo Mancilla? "
- " Present. I was born on January 1, 1984, and I want to be a Commercial Engineer. "
- " Very well! Carlos Mansilla? "
- " Present. I was born on June 15, 1983, in Lumaco. "
- " Lumaco! I have family there! "
- " I know of a woman named Aurelia Mendizábal. Do you know her? "
- " ... My aunt. "
The teacher's expression of annoyance was quite evident. Clearly, there wasn't a good relationship between them.
- " So, what do you want to be when you grow up? "
- " I don't know, teacher. Actor, comedian, TV presenter, announcer, singer... I always liked to act in public. "
Eliana began to stare at Carlos.
- " Don't tell me you don't think I can do those things! "
- " Au contraire. I think those activities could be perfect for you. "
- " Don't say that as it was a bad thing! "
- " Ok, kids, ok! You'll be able to discuss later, we're in class now! "
Eliana stopped staring at Carlos, and he sat down, thinking about many things he wanted to say to the long-haired girl.
- " Very well. Eliana Martínez? "
- " Present. I was born in this town, on January 18, 1984. I'm still unsure about this, because I've been thinking about several options... but nowadays I think I'd like to be a Pediatrician. "
- " Pediatrician... Do you know how much you have to study to pursue that career? "
- " Of course, teacher! I'm a very studious and dedicated girl, and I know I will triumph in whatever I aim to do! "
- " Because, to be honest, I look at you and I don't see a future Pediatrician... "
- " Well, I hope you don't see me as a future hairdresser! "
The teacher blushed. Eliana became quite upset.
- " ... But you must tell me your secret! " - the teacher finally exclaimed.
- " Yeah, yeah, maybe I'll do. "
- " Uh... Rodrigo Nogales? "
- " Absent. "
- " Rocío Cifuentes? "
- " I was born in Santiago, in San Miguel! "
- " Elías Panguinao? "
- " I'm from Pillanlelbún, near Temuco. I was born on October 22, 1983, and I want to be an electronics technician. "
- " María Antonia Paredes? "
- " I was born on August 15, 1983, and I want to be a nurse too. "
- " Lucía Peralta? "
- " I was born on January 28, 1984, in Molina. When I grow up, I want to work with my parents at the country. I want to study Management. "
- " Alicia Quilodrán? "
- " I was born in Guadalajara, state of Jalisco, the most beautiful city in Mexico. I came to Chile three years ago, because of my father's job and his Chilean family, but next year I'll be back to Mexico. About what I'm doing when I grow up, I dunno. "
- " Very well! It's great to have a foreigner in our ranks, even for a short time! Jorge Reveco? "
- " Absent. "
- " Cristián Sepúlveda? "
- " Present, miss! I was born in July 30, 1983! When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer, and eventually the President of Chile! "
Everyone started to stare at Cristián.
- " President. "
- " Yes! Is there anyone in this classroom who disagrees with my aspirations? Besides Eliana, of course... "
Eliana stood up.
- " I too think you will be able to become President, Cristián! "
- " Wow, Eliana! I didn't expect these words from your lips! "
- " Well, I know you very well, and I think you have what it takes. You'll make a lot of people vote for you, I assure you. "
- " Hey! Thanks! "
- " ... Of course, don't expect my vote, I'm not stupid. In fact, the day you announce your candidacy, the first thing I'll do is to buy plane tickets in order to move to Japan and never come back! "
Now everybody stared at Eliana. The teacher became astonished.
- " Wait, Eliana! Japan? "
- " I have family there, miss. "
- " But you don't look Japanese. "
- " I know. Now, please excuse me from exposing you to this soap opera, but I didn't want Cristián to become that high and mighty. Please, continue. "
- " ... Very well. Luisa Silva? "
- " Absent. "
- " Many absent people today. Ángelo Soto?
- " I'm from Tirúa. I was born on February 14, 1983, and my destiny is to become a primary school teacher. "
- " Very well! You need a lot of vocation for this job! "
- " I know. "
- " Andrea Torres? "
Andrea doesn't answer.
- " Is Andrea absent? "
- " No, she's present. " - Eliana answered - " Please excuse her, she's a bit slow. "
Eliana stood up again, and made Andrea react.
- " W... what... "
- " The teacher is talking to you. Didn't you listen? "
- " ... To me? "
- " Do you know who is Andrea Torres? "
- " Uh... me? "
- " Yes, you! Stand up! "
Now the teacher approaches Andrea.
- " You can sit down now, Eliana! Andrea, now tell me... Do you know when you were born? "
- " ... No. "
- " Were you born in this city, or elsewhere? Do you remember? "
- " ... Yes... I'm from Concepción... "
- " Very well! And what do you want to do when you grow up? "
Andrea didn't hesitate this time. She stood up, very sure of herself, and answered:
- " I want to be a Princess! "
Everybody, except the teacher, broke into laughter, and Andrea started to cry.
- " Look, girl. In order to be a princess, you have to be the daughter of a king and a queen, or to get married to a prince. There are princes that married commoners, but they're very beautiful women, often models or actresses, and they have to study a lot, because being a princess is not easy, they have to dress very well and to act according to a very strict protocol. But in this country there are no princesses or kings, so it's very unlikely that a foreign prince comes here and chooses to marry a Chilean woman. "
Then, Andrea had a burst of lucidity highly unusual on her.
- " Yes, that's right... but when I find the man of my dreams, and we get married, he's going to be my prince, and I'll be his princess! And we will have our own kingdom, together us two forever! That's my dream! "
- " So... romantic! I'm very impressed by your words, Andrea! "
- " Really? Do you think I'll be able to be a princess someday? "
- " Of course! Never give up your dreams, no matter what other people say! You must, however, fight every day to make your dreams reality, because there's always evil people who will tell you: 'No, Andrea, that's impossible'! For the one who is persevering and a fighter, everyhing is posible! Never give up! "
Then the teacher returned to her post, and glared at the rest of the class.
- " Let's see, who is left? Luz Vergara? "
- " Uh... I want to be a florist, teacher! "
- " And you, Evaristo Yáñez? "
- " I want to be a Navy Officer. "
- " Very well, children. We all have dreams and goals, but we must learn to respect the dreams and goals of the others. You did a very bad thing when you laughed at your classmate! She has a very difficult dream to accomplish, more so than becoming a Pediatrician or a President, but I'm sure of one thing. With perseverance and sacrifice, everything is possible! Never give up your dreams! "
Eliana had to hold back the urges of replying to the teacher's words. Undoubtely, what she said was very romantic, but if there was anyone in this classroom, who was known by her total lack of perseverance and sacrifice, it was precisely her, Andrea Torres, the laziest one in the class.
At recess, Eliana started to compile her list of tips for hair care, when Alejandra approached her.
- " Eliana... If you want to be a Pediatrician... Aren't you worried about having to see children with lice? "
- " How can you ask me that!? I've been studing surrounded by lice-infested children during more than five years! Yet I've never had lice in my entire life! Do you think it's just chance? No, sir! I'm a very picky about these things! That sort of details... "
Eliana then held her arm out towards Alejandra's hair, and soon she moved it away, in order to show Alejandra what she found.
- " ... never escape my eyes! "
- " NOOOOOOOOOO! " - Alejandra exclaimed, and moved away from Eliana.