The Story of my Leaps
—I have always been a peaceful person. My teachers took a while to remember that I was part of their class and the other students to notice my presence.
During the entire time you are in school there’s a file where the teachers write their opinions about each student. In my case there were two opinions repeated year after year: lack of communication and lack of vocational orientation. Both were correct.
However, underneath that person in the shadow there was a restlessness that began as a child and until this day I can’t name.
I remember now the first sign of that restlessness and the sensation that came after it led me to take my first leap.
It happened when I was in fifth grade. I was 12 and studying a poem by Jose Marti, who even at that time of ingenuous ignorance we recognized as a national hero.
The poem is titled “Yugo y Estrella” (Yoke and Star), a poem I liked a lot and that moved me to tears without knowing why. What happened then was that the teacher that taught literature told us that the yoke that Marti spoke of was a symbol of capitalism and the star of socialism.
I didn’t know what that meant, but what I did know is that the poem wanted to say something larger. I had the nerve to tell the teacher that I didn’t agree, that for me the yoke was everything that didn’t allow people to be happy and that the star was what guided people to that happiness.
The result was a meeting with my parents for ideological problems.
However, this altercation riff raff didn’t have any serious consequences because the teacher once again forgot my name as I returned to my silence.
But something had happened that marked my distance from the other students and my difference of opinion with the teachers. I know now that it was my first leap. There would be more to come.
2 thoughts on “<em>The Story of my Leaps</em>”
Somehow, intuitively, you arrived at the essential meaning of Marti’s poem; this demonstrates that real education is an “uncovering” of a knowledge which already exists within the student. In this case Marti spoke directly to you, without the mediation or interpretive “help” of the teacher, whose interpretation was simple-minded and wrong-headed. Too bad there are not more teachers who are encouraging, and who , as Socrates would say, act as the “midwives” to their students’ ideas. The sort of small mindedness exemplified by your teacher happens everywhere, not just in Cuba. A similar incident happened recently at my daughter’s high school. In this case, although the student wasn’t as shy, the teacher lacked a sense of humor for the stuedent’s satirical humor, with dire consequences.
I liked this story very much. I too have been restless. With a lot of effort I received an education.
Next month I will be a healthy 80.
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