Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 8

Today's topic is "someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit." I'm going to resist the urge to write about family members here. Because, let's face it, while certain ones drive me crazy, and too many of my relationships are out of balance, that's not really what this is about.

So I'm going to talk about teachers. I did, on occasion have supportive, encouraging teachers, but they were the exception, not the rule. More often that not, however, I wound up with teachers that did not understand me, and wound up trying to discourage me. It was really frustrating for me -- and probably more so for my mother.

As a kid, I was always reading and writing stories. I'd read on the bus, under my desk, during lunch, on the playground during recess -- and my teachers used to actively discourage it! One teacher kept commenting to my grandmother (who worked at the school) that they needed to get me to put down the books and play more, "like all of the other kids." And I got in trouble for reading things that were age-inappropriate -- i.e. too advanced. I was also in a gifted program that took us out of class to do additional work, and we were expected to make up all the regular classwork that we missed.

I always felt that I was being punished for being smart. So I would act up -- I stopped reading what I was assigned, I refused to do my homework. In short, I decided to purposefully stop participating in the system. It took my mother a long time to figure my behavior out, but eventually she understood. It got somewhat better when we started having classes that were tracked for "gifted" or "honors."

Still, in a high school gifted English class, I had a teacher that tried to get me kicked out of the program because I refused to write a five-paragraph essay that just regurgitated the points that she made about the books. I had written a paper with my own ideas, in my own way, and in my own voice -- and rather than encouraging me to think for myself and try to support my own conclusions, she tried to punish me. And again, I was lucky enough to have a mother who encouraged me and fought for me.

Yesterday: Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Tomorrow: Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

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