Mr. Belanger was my Grade 12 math teacher. I was not a model student whatsoever. Math is not my favourite subject because it requires pure knowledge and understanding in order for you to succeed at it. It is not something you can read, memorize, and answer multiple questions on. It requires work.
I have never been good at it, mostly because I’ve had it instilled in me that I’m not, and by Grade 12 I had basically given up on it all together. Because I had given up and stopped caring, but still needed the class to graduate, I was in attendance physically but not mentally. I constantly talked while he was teaching and exceeded as little effort as I could.
Because of this, I was far from his favourite student. I feel for all teachers, and high school teachers especially. It must be very discouraging and frustrating to teach a subject you love, but that your students don’t. Math is a subject most people aren’t fond of, but it is something Mr. Belanger loves.
I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to try and teach something students don’t care to learn about, their goal only being to pass the class. But Mr. Belanger keeps doing it. He stays in at lunch and after school, so when you have students who are disrespectful, who don’t try, and who do poorly, of course it is going to be annoying when you’re putting in all this extra effort to try and help!
I went into that Grade 12 final exam thinking I was going to fail, because that’s what I’ve always done: failed at math. But something happened that shocked me. I passed with flying colours and did third best in my class which boosted my overall grade, giving me a B. A better grade in math than I’d ever had before. I had been so used to being horrible at math I didn’t even realize his impeccable teaching methods and devotion to helping his students understand worked on me. And finally I did understand.
I have two things to say to Mr. Belanger. Firstly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me accomplish something I never thought I could. And second, I’m sorry for being a nuisance of a student. I wish I knew then what I know now. It is because of you that I ended up accomplishing something I never thought I could.
Charlotte Jenkins-Royer, Nelson