An Open Letter to my Psychology Teacher

Do you know the symbol of psychology?” you asked on our first class.
What I thought I was looking forward to was the definition of the subject but that wasn’t what you drew on the board. Without words, you introduced me to a symbol and a subject that would change a lot about my life. That first lesson was pretty much the rest of our two years in your class. Most of the things you taught, you taught without the need to explain it in words.
In your class, I tried to lurk between the shadows and the dark corners and you somehow knew them all and turned on the lights. You dived in with us to explore the uncharted areas of consciousness and the less spoken areas of the mind. You left no room for shadows. The light was a little blinding, for an eye that’s been in the dark for too long cannot look straight at the light, but you taught us how to get used to it.
There were only five of us but in that class we felt like we were the universe itself; important as a whole, and important as individuals. You made us believe that everything else was  just rings of ice and dust that added to the beauty of the solar system we had come to make.
So we “internalized” our identities, finally proud of who we were for we were told for almost the first time to embrace who we are, to cry if we had to, to laugh if we wanted to, to literally.. be whatever the heck we wanted to be, and still be accepted as whole as we were. The psychology class, though not defined to four walls, is a place I visit in my mind quite frequently, because it was here in that space of infinity that we put out shields to rest; a place that I can carry like a fond memory at the back of my mind miles away from where we once said it belonged.
You did not demand us to be perfect students, instead you accepted us as “perfect”  students even when it was common knowledge that if perfect were to be called Virginia M. Axline, we were no more than a few odd students who read her name on a textbook, taking no less than four years to find the book that carried her words; even when you used air quotes to tell us we were exactly that.
 Learning from you in those two years gave fond memories to cherish, and knowledge that is hard to put away. I wonder often if I would have liked the subject just as much had it not been for my teacher.. I think the simple and obvious answer is that I wouldn’t have. I believe it is because of you that I like psychology, and for that I can’t thank you enough, ma’am. Some theories, some results from certain case control studies have been filtered out of my long term memory but if someone brings up Sigmund Freud I’m the first one to turn around. And Dibs in Search of Self is a favorite book of mine.
I would not be mistaken to say that psychology changed parts of my life but I’d be mistaken if I say my psychology teacher didn’t. You’ve left a long lasting impression on me, and I think it’d take forever to erase that. In this class I learnt how to work in a group, how it feels like to stand in front of an audience (even if the audience was a maximum of five) and how to be handed over responsibilities and how to handle them. I’ve come a long way, from stuttering in class to preparing myself to let a stage hear my words. My psychology teacher said “This is your opportunity. You’ll have to speak someday“, I didn’t know that it was a first to a many presentations, a first to a series of people I’d meet, words I’d exchange, ideas I’d embrace- none of which I regret.
This class, or more rather my teacher, allowed me to be appreciated for my work instead of my silence and this is where I learnt not just human psychology, but a lot about me. This is partly why it’s almost impossible to ignore how much knowledge and experience there was to take in those seventy minute sessions each day. Somewhere in those two years, in between all your lessons and your anecdotes and your stories, I learnt about life. About a symbol that you drew on the board five years ago, bridging a connection between my world and a world that finally made sense.
Thank You, ma’am.
Happy Teachers’ Day!
 From a student who hid in the shadows and made sense of the world, now stepping into the light and accepting the world for all that it is.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zeeshan
    Oct 04, 2016 @ 20:48:53

    This is wonderful, Zulaiha 🙂 I’m sure she’d appreciate this very much!


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