My Journey From Farmworker Boy To Pediatrician

Book Excerpt from the Inspiring Story of Ramon Resa, MD:
Excerpt #6 of 17


When I start fourth grade, I’m not looking forward to it because I’m afraid I’ll end up in Mrs. Tobin’s class. She’s the most feared teacher in the school. I’ve seen her bully and spank kids for no apparent reason when she was the playground monitor, so I’ve kept my distance from her.

Of course, I do end up in her classroom. Now I’m going to be at her mercy every day.

She’s a short, stocky woman who looks like a fireplug. She has short, curly, dark-brown hair and wears horn-rimmed glasses. She also has a mole on her chin with a thick black hair growing out of it. She always keeps her ruler in her hand so she can whack your knuckles if you so much as look at her wrong. We all tremble in her presence and she knows it. I wonder how I’m ever going to survive her. I’m sure she’s going to ruin my life.

Instead, all she does is change me. After that year, I’m never the same.

From the first day of class, she starts riding me. She refuses to let me stay under the radar. She’s hard on me. She’s hard on all of us, actually, but especially on me. I don’t know why she seems to be picking on me. At first I think she’s after me for some reason I’m not aware of, but she never whacks me with her ruler, even though she doesn’t hesitate to smack my classmates every time she has an excuse.

When I fail to impress her, she makes me try again. She makes me stand up in front of the class and give my report, and she whacks anyone who laughs at my stutter. Serves them right, I think to myself. When I’m done, she tells me, “Raymond, you did a very good job.”

As time goes on, I start to realize that she’s not going to make fun of me, and I finally realize she has a genuine desire for me to do well. She seems so tough on the outside, but when she looks at me I see a softness in her eyes that I’ve never noticed in anyone before. I guess I just wasn’t expecting anyone to care so much about me. I try hard to please her because I’m hungry for positive words or gestures from anyone.

My folks are so concerned about surviving day to day that they have no time to sit down with us and show interest. When I see TV shows where the parents ask the kids, “How was school today?” or “What did you learn today?,” and go to school games or performances, or help them with their homework, I think it must all be made up. Nobody does that in real life.

I wonder why they never show the parents and all the kids out in the field picking grapes. That’s what’s real. Why do those TV families have only two or three kids, and why do they need such big houses? What a waste. The twelve of us should move into their house, and they should live in ours, with its three small bedrooms. It doesn’t make sense to me.

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