I had a few traumatic events happen to me during my grade school years. Both events were a result of my teachers and had a significant impact on my feelings about those years.
Here’s the first scene. I’m in first grade and it’s time for show-n-tell. It was my turn to bring something to share with the class and I’m beyond excited. I go to the front of the classroom with my treasure and hold it out to show everyone. I’m showing the blue ceramic elephant that Lisa made for me and I’m so proud of this little guy. Everyone is paying attention to me with the exception of my teacher. She is too busy to pay attention because she is in the process of grading papers. I loudly say “My sister made this all by herself… just for me!” I’m hoping that the emphasis in my voice will make my teacher look up and say something, but it doesn’t. She just says “That’s nice”, but she doesn’t even look up from the papers. I go back to my desk heartbroken. Obviously, I’m not that important if my teacher won’t even pay attention.
Years later, when Lisa was becoming a teacher, I shared this story with her and how hurt I was by the actions of this teacher. I’m happy to share that because of my pain, none of Lisa’s students were ever ignored during show n tell.
The next scene involved a different teacher during my grade school years. This teacher wanted so much to be loved and adored by their students. They would actually invite students over to their house on the weekend. I wanted so desperately to be invited but never was. I was convinced this teacher did not like me.
One time, during recess, two of my friends fell in the mud and got to spend the afternoon cleaning themselves up. They didn’t get into trouble. I thought this was pretty cool, so I wasn’t too upset when it happened to me the next day. But, in contrast to my two friends, I got into trouble. I was reprimanded that I should’ve been more careful. Hhhhmmm – why did I get in trouble, but they didn’t? This just confirmed in my head that this teacher didn’t like me.
One event that I DO remember with clarity was the time I was upset because I felt my teacher had given us too much homework. As a typical child, I was sulking and walking down the hallway. The teacher must’ve realized that I was upset and sent another child after me to find out why I was upset. I shared with my friend about my frustration with the homework and she reported back to the teacher what I had said. The next thing I knew, the teacher was storming down the hall SCREAMING “I don’t give you ENOUGH homework.” Needless to say, that was another day I went home in tears.
This was a very traumatic year for me. I came home from school multiple times in tears because of the actions of this teacher. I don’t remember specifics about what this teacher did or said to cause my tears, but I do remember mom having to call the principal to talk about this teacher and the effect they were having on my mental well-being.