Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bad Teacher

When I was in third grade they called me "Sewer-Sue," it was a take-off on the Garbage Pail Kids.  I cried endlessly.  Not just because it hurt so bad, because it did, but mainly because I was having a rough home life and school was to be my oasis.  I would get on the bus and hope and pray no one would pick on me.  I wished that the teacher would stick up for me, but she didn't.
Mostly I cried.  Or hid in the bathroom and cry.  My teacher usually told me to buck-up.  Stop crying.  As a nine year old girl I felt lost and alone.  All I wanted was for someone to stick up for me.  For someone to tell me it was okay.
It never came that year.
Is it weird that I looked that teacher up?  She still teaches at that same school and that same grade.  Is it weird that I want to write to her and tell her she failed me?  That when I needed a champion she wasn't there.  That instead of bringing me up, she tore me down.  That she failed to see my home life sucked bananas and that school made my life a living hell.
What would she say?  What could she say?  You think after 25 plus years she'd even remember me?  Would me telling her all this make it any better for another girl or boy who struggles or whose school is their only safe haven.
Isn't funny that to this day she has this on her parent site...
"I do not shield them from all unhappy or trying experiences in the classroom or the playground, or fight their battles for them. Instead, I try to help them meet and face their problems now."
I almost laughed.  Not because it was funny.  It was an uncomfortable laugh.  That uncomfortable laugh you have when you are too sad to cry or too angry to yell.  That laugh of 25 plus years of hurt and pain bottled up so there is no other emotion then uncomfortable laughing.
She doesn't get it and she never will.
I am not sure a emotional email from me will help.
Because 25 years later it wasn't her ignoring the problem that helped me face "all my battles."
And as much as this one bad teacher caused me hurt, there has been nameless others who have guided me on the right path.  Those are the teachers that taught me, in a loving and caring way, to fight my battles head on.  The  teachers who saw my hurt and worked tirelessly to help me, these are the people I want to remember.
I still remember their names and classrooms.  When I close my eyes I can still smell the chalk and remember every inch of their classrooms.  Where the books rested.  Where the pencil sharpener was.   I still have a Christmas "Thank You" note, from one of my favorite teachers.  I gave her potpourri sachet.  And I remember all this because she touched me in a positive way.  And gave me hope and love.
To all the good teachers out there, Thank you!!!
And to that one bad one: please remember we are little and we need you.
So advice: as much as I know this one bad teacher will not change, should I contact her?  Would you?


  1. I would probably leave it in the past. She's done her damage and she'll probably be retired soon enough. Instead, I'd try to fix things going forward. I think that I would make a concerted effort to make sure that my (hypothetical) kids don't have the same experience. I'd make damn sure to hold a teacher's feet to the fire if they were pulling the same crap in the classroom.

  2. I don't know. As a teacher, I think I would like to know how I could do better. Then again, seeing as how it was so long ago, I don't know if it would help her at all.

    I think what you need to do is ask yourself what you are looking for. Because if you are hoping she will apologize or realize she was wrong, there is a very good chance she will sorely disappoint you--yet again!

    It sucks that she was this way. Totally, totally does. But thanks for the reminder that every day we get opportunities to lift others (or not). I need to be more aware of those opportunities and how I am using them.

  3. Wow! I think you should write it and then decide if you should send it.See how it turns out when your done. If you think you can give your veiw and experiance and think it could make an impact for change so that maybe she can try something diffrent and reach kids she didnt before than great go for it!It may also end up just making you feel better by getting it out who knows girlie.

  4. I don't think I would contact her. It wouldn't change her. I mean look at her own published philosophy about not shielding or protecting kids from bad experiences. She is obviously one of those that believe that by kids having bad experiences in school it makes them stronger people. Phuckers. They just don't know how some shit can and do stay with kids all they way until adulthood. Bad teachers are as bad as bad nurses. When they are bad it affects ppl's lives.


Thanks for your comments- they are like pennies from heaven.


I never knew much about my Grandfather's job.  I knew he was a police officer.  A Sergeant on the Chicago Police Force.  When he came ho...