The best teacher I ever had was Mrs. Suarez, who taught me algebra in the ninth grade. But even more than teaching me algebra, Mrs. Suarez showed me compassion during a very difficult time in my life. To look at this woman, a person would never guess what a caring nature she had. With wire-stiff hair teased and lacquered into a bouffant, Mrs. Suarez looked like a hard woman. Her face, heavily wrinkled, had a scary, witch-like quality that fit the shrill voice she used to reprimand 14-year-old sinners who neglected their homework. She always stood ramrod straight with her 120 pounds distributed over her orthopedic shoes. Many a student has been frightened by a first look at this no-nonsense woman. However, appearances are, indeed, deceptive for Mrs. Suarez was not the witch she looked to be. In fact, I will always be grateful for her understanding and encouragement when I needed them most.


Adapted from: Clouse, Barbara Fine. A Troubleshooting Guide for Writers. 5th ed., McGraw, 2008.