Edmondo De Acimis
My new teacher pleases me also, since this morning. While we were coming in, and when he was already seated at his post, some one of his scholars of last year every now and then peeped in at the door to salute him; they would present themselves and greet him:—
“Good morning, Signor Teacher!” “Good morning, Signor Perboni!” Some entered, touched his hand, and ran away. It was evident that they liked him, and would have liked to return to him. He responded, “Good morning,” and shook the hands which were extended to him, but he looked at no one; at every greeting his smile remained serious, with that perpendicular wrinkle on his brow, with his face turned towards the window, and staring at the roof of the house opposite; and instead of being cheered by these greetings, he seemed to suffer from them. Then he surveyed us attentively, one after the other. While he was dictating, he descended and walked among the benches, and, catching sight of a boy whose face was all red with little pimples, he stopped dictating, took the lad’s face between his hands and examined it; then he asked him what was the matter with him, and laid his hand on his forehead, to feel if it was hot. Meanwhile, a boy behind him got up on the bench, and began to play the marionette. The teacher turned round suddenly; the boy resumed his seat at one dash, and remained there, with head hanging, in expectation of being punished. The master placed one hand on his head and said to him:—
“Don’t do so again.” Nothing more.
Then he returned to his table and finished the dictation. When he had finished dictating, he looked at us a moment in silence; then he said, very, very slowly, with his big but kind voice:—
“Listen. We have a year to pass together; let us see that we pass it well. Study and be good. I have no family; you are my family. Last year I had still a mother: she is dead. I am left alone. I have no one but you in all the world; I have no other affection, no other thought than you: you must be my sons. I wish you well, and you must like me too. I do not wish to be obliged to punish any one. Show me that you are boys of heart: our school shall be a family, and you shall be my consolation and my pride. I do not ask you to give me a promise on your word of honor; I am sure that in your hearts you have already answered me ‘yes,’ and I thank you.”
At that moment the beadle entered to announce the close of school. We all left our seats very, very quietly. The boy who had stood up on the bench approached the master, and said to him, in a trembling voice:
“Forgive me, Signor Master.”
The master kissed him on the brow, and said, “Go, my son.”
Chapter 2 (Summarize)
This morning I was pleased by the following things that happened:
While the teacher was seated at his post, some of his students from last year peeped in the door to greet him. Some entered the room and touched his hand.
He just smiled as he seemed to suffer their greetings. He turned his face towards the windows and starred at the roof of the house opposite.
While the teacher was giving dictation, he saw a boy with a red face covered in acne.
The master held the boy’s head in his hands as he touched his forehead to feel if the boy had a fever.
The master caught one boy who was standing on a bench behind him playing with a marionette.The boy expected to be punished.However, the teacher told the boy that he shouldn’t do so again.
Then the teacher said very slowly in his big kind voice that we had a year to spend together. He said that we should let it pass well. He told us to study hard and be good.
He said that we were a family and that we were his sons because his mother had died the year before.
He went on to say that he didn’t want to punish any of us.
He further added that he wanted us to be kind-hearted boys who considered our classmates to be family and our school to be our second home.
He told us that we would be his pride and joy.
He did not ask us to give him our word of honor. He didn’t ask us to promise him.
He was sure that in our hearts we had already answered him ‘yes,’ and he thanked us.
The class was over. We all left our seats very quietly. The boy who had stood on the bench approached the master and asked him to forgive him. The master kissed him on the brow, and said, “Go, my son.”
After listening to my teacher this morning at school, I began to love him very much.I understood the reason his former students liked him and would have liked to return to him.