We never took the time to appreciate how much we were learning did we? Not one of us, not me.
Twelve years ago I would sit in a demountable classroom in the outer South Eastern suburbs and fill my brain with knowledge. The high quality education more than making up for the drab surroundings.
It's funny to think that those classrooms were demountable and therefore only temporary because going by their state at the time they hadn't been demounted in a while.
Maybe they were permanent temporary structures, as public school buildings are in the suburbs. Permanent temporary structures- there's an excercise in double think the beurocrats in the department of education would be proud of.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the temporary permanents were still there, fully mounted, old, hot, dusty, uncomfortable like they were in 2000 when I was a student at Carwatha College.
I can't remember the exact room number where this particular lesson took place; I know it started with M.
M block was the row of temporary permanent portables (that were neither temporary or portable anymore) that housed the maths and science classrooms. Looking back at it now there was something really forlorn about M block. Something tired and old.
At the time however it felt like I was studying inside the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. I had never seen a Bunsen burner before, or test tubes, or science labs. Sure, M block was run down but for me it's where at least once a week I would sit down to Mrs. Zaros' psychology class.
I'm not scientifically minded. Not to say that I don't appreciate it. I really do, I love science and exploration but My strengths are heavily in the arts. I find the humanities easier than the sciences.
Yet, I love the rigour of hard science and that's why psychology appealed to me at the time. It was the scientific study of people! Worlds collided.
Mrs Zaros was a wonderful teacher. She still is, except now she chooses when to teach. That's a virtue and a blessing of retirement I guess.
When I was in Mrs Zaros' classes I just wanted her to teach me everything she knew, and then some. Her passion is infectious and her knowledge base so deep you could swim in it for days and never near the bottom.
Funnily enough the things I remember the most are not necessarily those of the field of psychology. Sure I remember Zimbardo's Stanford experiments and the experiment using monkeys to demonstrate attachment. That's all useful and interesting but I think above all she taught me to love learning.
Not just love learning, to strive to love learning. To feel comfortable with not knowing but only because you should always seek to know. She taught me that there is a universe out there full of mysteries and things just waiting to be known.
She also taught me that you should ALWAYS take good care of other people's books when you borrow them. She taught me that charisma only gets you so far, the rest is hard work. She failed me in psych because I didn't hand anything in. Charisma gets you liked, hard work gets you respected.
She taught me to look for questions, not answers.
How did she do all of this? Just by being a passionate teacher who loved knowing herself. I don't think she stepped into a classroom of annoying 16 year olds with the mission to change our lives and get us to think past lunchtime. But she did, because she believed in us.
Why am I waxing lyrical about my psych teacher. Well- because I saw her not that long ago and we reconnected. I can't tell you the happiness that gave me. Growing up I didn't have strong role models. In fact, during moments I had no role models. My teachers were my salvation. There's a long chain of people, Mrs Zaros included that are responsible for the person you see today. In a very real sense, they kept me alive.
Not just Mrs Zaros, I had an army of people at school and elsewhere that pushed me, either a little or a lot to be who I am today.
Miss Morey my art teacher who taught me to appreciate the beauty and complexity in the world through art. Me Fahey who inspired a life long interest in learning French (I'm still learning), Ms Friend who inspired my interest in feminism, Mrs O'Keefe who without knowing it annoyed my friends and family during our walk through the Tower of London because I gave my friends a run down of the Norman invasion of England that I first encountered in her year 8 history. Mr Paine, Mr Jhoomun, Ms Loke, Ms Wood. So many of you... Ms Lumsden, Ms Grubb.
And these were the teachers I had in secondary school- don't get me started on university. All of you without knowing have changed my life. You all taught me something and for that I can never ever repay you.
Did the universe put you all in my path because it knew that I was in desperate need to be guided, or because all of them saw something in me that I didn't I don't know.
If some people stand on the shoulders of giants as cliche as it sounds I've been in the hands of angels. Lots of them.
We never took the time to appreciate our education did we Carwatha College classmates of 2001. We never took the time back then.
How silly we were.