25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
The Pride of Being the Teacher's Favorite
Back in the good old days, the teacher's favorite used to have some privileges. Today favoritism in schools is seen as something wrong.
Okay let us find out about this favoritism thing in the classrooms? Let us immediately dismiss this idea that teachers had favorites and gave them free grades. In order to be a teacher's favorite, one had to earn it by being obedient, maintaining good grades, being neat in physical appearance, and other things of that nature.
Now here is the fun part! The student who became the teacher's favorite got to erase the chalkboard; as simple as that. At the end of the subject period, the teacher simply turned to face the class and there would be several hands in the air volunteering to do the honors of erasing the blackboard. One of the favorites got to do it. That child would be so proud of being selected would smile at his classmates and proceed with this honorable task.
Up until today I cannot figure out what was so special about erasing the writings of the teacher's lessons. I guess it is only the idea that you were selected, preferred or considered one of the best. The little problem arose when a "shortie" was selected. He had to drag a chair or a bench to the front and reach up to the top of the chalkboard. This extra task added more attention to this honorable assignment or appointment.
Very often when a child got home, mom would ask, "Did you get to erase the blackboard today?" You can bet that the child would be all too excited to boast that he was the teacher's favorite. What a beautiful relationship developed by teachers with their students in the Good Old Days.
Another thing that the teacher's favorites got to do is to arrange or "fix up" the teacher's table; his would be at the end of the school day. Once appointed the child wiped the table, arranged the books in a neat and orderly manner, set the belt or whip inside the drawer so that it wouldn't be misplaced or stolen, and put the chalk butts in his pocket. This was his great reward! I tell you, children were so delighted to take home the chalk butts especially when it was colored chalk.
And one final thing! It was considered a distinct privilege to hold on to the teacher's hand as he or she walked home. Well, the teacher only had two hands, so it was who got there first that had the honors. Just in case you were not one of the favorites, this time you made yourself one of the favorites. In the end what these gestures of erasing the blackboard, arranging the teacher's table, and holding the teacher's hand only show that there was great rapport and a beautiful relationship with teachers and students in the GOOD OLD DAYS.