Last week I read this post by Eva from The Multitasking Mummy about teachers and how they can help students to learn, just by being who they are. It got me thinking about the teachers that I had over the period of my schooling and the impact that they had on my schooling life. Then Kirsty asked us to share the subject we loathed at school and it was like the universe was colliding, in a good way this time.
I enjoyed school most of the time. When I wasn’t enjoying it, or being a punk to my teachers, I loved the distraction that it gave me. At least when I was at school I wasn’t wallowing in my room, thinking of ways to harm myself. However, in high school, the way that I felt about school changed dramatically.
I went from a student who would death stare my classmates if they caused the whole class to be kept in at lunchtime to one who regularly thumbed her nose at any kind of authority. I feel sorry for some of the teachers who had to deal with the surly teenager that I had become. I say some, because well, sometimes teachers reap what they sow.
We had a teacher in high school, who maybe would have been better suited elsewhere, away from impressionable teenagers. She was well known (and probably still is) for wearing underwear that weren’t quite suited to the clothes she wore, especially when one is a teacher to teenage boys. She managed to erode the love that I had for science away.
Not one student took her seriously. The lower end of the achieving scale bought into the rumours that were allowed to spread about her and the higher end thought she didn’t have the brain to teach science. She had a massive impact on me, and not in a positive way.
Her words are still burned in my mind, as if they were only said yesterday, not over 14 years ago. The inaction of the head of department cemented for me how much of an outsider I was seen as. I was the crazy kid, the one with the smart mouth but the addled mind. The one who was probably telling lies to get herself out of trouble. The one who’d already been kicking back against their authority.
Her words, said in spite, words that were nothing more than juvenile coming from the mouth of a 30 year old woman. The words cut through the very thin rope I was holding on to, they severed the last link in my self esteem. I was academically a good student, but with her words she had reduced me to the female stereotype.
I rebelled in school not because I was a teenager trying to find her place. Not because of any other reason imaginable. No. I rebelled because I was jealous of her, in her words, not because of her brain but because of the size written on her clothing tag. She had reduced everything I was feeling to something so shallow. That was the day I stopped giving a damn about the grades I got in her class, instead focusing on not letting an ounce of food pass my lips in her presence.
She had won. If a 14 year old girl and 30 year old woman could be considered opponents. If a teacher and a student should be pitted against each other in the appearance stakes. If how much a female weighed mattered. She won.