Saturday, May 18, 2013

 We have received our Third "Tell Us Your Story" submission.

Bullies aren't always children....

It was the first day of third grade in a new school. We had just moved into the neighborhood that summer. I don't know what scared me, but something did. I cried all day. I sobbed. I still remember how badly my chest hurt. I paired off with another student who would watch over me the rest of the day.

The next day the teacher asked if I would be crying all day again or if she would be able to teach her class. I didn't cry. I was scared. The third day she asked me again. I was scared then, too. The fourth day things began to fall into place. Work was given. Students learned. I didn't know how to pronounce this word - stupid - in the reading lesson. ""It's what you are,"" I was told in front of the class. My desk was moved beside the teacher's desk. When work was given I was asked if I understood it or if I was too stupid to understand anything. With every lesson came a derogatory remark about my intelligence. I don't remember a lot from third grade. There are clear moments when I was told I was stupid or dumb or shouldn't have been promoted to third grade. I was an "A" student in my old school.  I became withdrawn. I isolated. I started to believe what I was told. 

My parents didn't understand how I my interest in school could change so much, but it was never the adults that were blamed or scrutinized, it was me. I remember yelling that I hated her. I remember saying it wasn't me. My parents had meetings with the Principal, with the teacher. There were other complaints. I wasn't the only student being bullied by this teacher.

Four months into the school year, a new third grade class was started. Students from each class were moved to a new room with a new teacher. This teacher listened. This teacher asked questions. This teacher was surprised that I was smart - not stupid. This new teacher didn't understand why I did so poorly in the old teacher's classroom.

The damage was done. Years later when I'm about to begin a new endeavor there's a voice in the back of my head. "You're stupid," it says. "You're too dumb to understand." If I fail, that voice says, "I told you, you're an idiot." I argue with that voice every time I try something new. No one should hear that voice - ever!

Don't let your child hear that voice.

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