Find the Value of Life

Image of Ms. Jaelene Cristel Mina smiling and text.

2X2 + 5X – 3 = 0

Gosh! That’s an algebraic equation. I dislike math; I dislike numbers and I’m not good at solving arrhythmic equations, especially when the teacher is not that willing to assist a visually impaired student like me.

What the teachers usually do was to point on the board and say, “Transpose this number to here and put it right there.”

How would a blind ever understand an Algebra lesson in that method of teaching?

But wait, I will not talk about how bad I was in math or how the other teachers executed mathematical lessons then. Let me share a story about a particular teacher who made a great impact in my life, whom I met in my second year high school, in June of 2006.

Introducing Ms. Jean, a teacher who is described to be a petite lady with a fair skin and a kind face. She has a gentle but modulated voice that sounded so friendly to me.

Do you have an idea what subject she taught? I guess you already got it. Yes, it was math, the subject I hated the most.

Though math is not the type of subject that I really enjoyed that time, I still found it interesting because of the way of Ms. Jean’s execution of the lessons. She’s not the this and that type of teacher. She was so descriptive and specific when explaining equations to the class. In that way, I was never out of place and it seemed like I’m not a visually impaired at all.

I can still vividly remember how we went on with our daily class routine. We started with a prayer then Ms. Jean would share a positive quote or a verse from the bible and let us reflect on it for a while.

She has been an encouraging teacher to everybody. She has always wanted her students to participate in all class activities and get high grades. She was not stock to the traditional math class type where in the teacher would just explain the lesson, give exercises and then dismiss the class.

Ms. Jean let the students to excel in their own strengths. She let us compose a math jingle, play games and collect ribbons. The ribbons would be given to us everytime we participate in the class discussion, get high scores and win from a group game. Those ribbons were collected and later on, would be compiled on a portfolio to be submitted every after grading period along with the quiz papers, answer sheets with scores, assignments and the written quotes and verses shared by Ms. Jean.

She’s eager to conduct review and remedial class whenever she found out that we could not understand a certain topic. She really wanted every student to pass and even outstand in her subject without pressure.

She made sure that no-one, including me, was not left behind to her subject. When she was not busy with her paper works, she would sit next to me and assist me in doing the exercises. There were also times that she used her finger to draw the mathematical equation on the palm of my hand just to demonstrate how the numbers were transposed, substituted and solved.

If it happened that she was not available, she would assign one of my classmates to sit beside me and help me cope with the lessons. To be fair with everyone, Ms. Jean arranged the student assignment as my tutor alphabetically, just in case she wouldn’t be around to teach me.

Everyday, my classmates took turns in tutoring me. Some cooperated willingly, some did not, some were doubtful, and some were just doing it because it’s needed.

Ms. Jean taught us a lot of great things. She did not only teach us how to find the value of X, solve mathematical problems and answer algebraic equations, but she had also shown us that nothing is impossible if you would just trust God and believe in your abilities.

In 10 months of being Ms. Jean’s student, I have learned to multiply perseverance, divide love, add enthusiasm, subtract worries and find the value of life.

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