March 4th, 2011

Writer's Block: Life's lessons

If you could confront the worst teacher you've ever had, what would you tell him or her?

The teacher who taught me least and who was the worst human being i met in elementary school was Miss G. B.  She taught sixth grade and she was a bully.  She selected me as one of her targets (possibly because of my autism, though i could not have known that at the time).  I learned much later in life that she treated my four younger siblings even worse, but possibly because they were my siblings.  Among other things she was a sexual abuser of children.   (This was decades before there was any awareness of such a problem).

If alive she would be over 100 years old by now.  (I remember her being a middle aged woman in 1947)  I probably would not have anything negative to say to a person of that age under any circumstances.  But i can remember the kind of person that i was as a teenager.  I was still in high school (which shared a building with the elementary school) when each of my siblings passed through sixth grade.  If i had known i was not her only target, and if i had known that she sexually abused at least one child, i would have confronted her.  I would have said "shame on you."  "I will report you to the principal and to the police."  "I am going to try to get you fired."  (I later learned that she had held a child back, made him repeat sixth grade, so that she could have more access to him.).  Later in life i tried to find out what had happened to her, but i never did.  She has disappeared into the past.  I doubt that her behavior ever came to the attention of school administrators.  I'm sure i am not the first student she bullied and i am certain that my youngest siblings, five years later, were not the last.

Since that time i have never been able to take school violence seriously unless the so-called experts are also willing to take teacher on student violence seriously.  Students are not taught just what is in the lesson plan, but also what goes on during moments of interaction, conflict, and discipline.  Miss B did not teach me much, i thank the spirits for that.