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Social anxiety

My teachers failed me

Me at eleven

Me nowWe learn throughout our lives, but most of our learning is done in childhood. In eighteen years, we’re supposed to advance from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing enough to manage on our own in this complicated world. What we need to learn isn’t just how to calculate the area of a triangle, or the difference between “its” and “it’s” [sorry – forget the second one: it’s apparently not important these days and probably not PC to even mention it].

We also have to learn how to get on with other people, how to communicate with them, because we’re all in this world together and we need each other to get anywhere. Besides, it’s pretty boring with only yourself for company.

Most children get sent to school to learn these things. This seems a good idea because, not only do you learn academic subjects, but you also have to interact with a lot of people. What happens if it goes wrong? – pear-shaped, I believe, is the current term.

I didn’t learn how to communicate with others at school. Instead, I learnt not to communicate, because anything I said could be remembered and used to bully me. And my teachers, who knew how to communicate and should have seen what was going on, didn’t think of communicating anything to me or finding anyone else to communicate with me. Reports complaining that I didn’t take enough part in lessons, and monologues after years of my non-communication telling me to change my attitude weren’t exactly the right approach.

Someone should have delved deeper and made me understand how I felt when I was teased or ostracised, or when my only friend suddenly vanished. But no one did.

I’d like to think that things have changed in all the years that have passed since I was at school. I’d like to think that teachers now care about the emotional well-being of their pupils and know how to handle problems. I fear that this is not true. That, just like then, they act when children are disruptive and fail to act when they’re not.

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By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

6 replies on “My teachers failed me”

“We also have to learn how to get on with other people, how to communicate with them, because we’re all in this world together and we need each other to get anywhere.”

This is a lesson we still all need to learn.

i love the pictures…you are so very talented…and kids are very cruel…then and now…you’ve come a long way baby!!! proud to be your friend…see you soon…love m

Gill: you’re right. Unfortunately, I fear there are some who will never learn it.
Marallyn: some kids are cruel because no one has explained to them that what they’re doing is cruel.

A lot of what you experienced still applies, I’m afraid. When I did teacher training we learnt all about pastoral care, which is mainly the form teacher’s responsibility, along with personal and social education etc. However, in practice teachers are so damn busy tring to reach the various targets set by admin, league tables and government that they usually don’t have time to communicate with the kids. And it’s true that the troublemakers get all the attention and the quiet ones don’t. Children get a better chance in small schools, and if they are lucky, they make a few good friends to socialise with.

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