It was the first day of 7th grade in Mrs. Eddie’s classroom and I was notorious for always being a “chatter box” by the other teachers. I really liked her at first and she made me like school. As I was leaving her class one day she said these words to me: “you need to learn to shut the hell up because you’re giving me a migraine”.
I left school that day thinking “do teachers really talk to their students this way”. I was raised in a good home where my parents taught me to always respect the teacher and coaches. This was the beginning.
I went to school each day anxious to go to Mrs. Eddie’s classroom. I was always advanced in reading for my age but she made every point to make me feel like the dumbest kid in the room. She would say my answer was wrong and snap her fingers in my face. She marked answers correct on one kids papers and marked those same answers wrong on mine. I know everyone feels “targeted” by their teacher but this was something different. An adult who was supposed to support me at a crucial age in a kids life was the bully.
One time, some girls were mean to me and I was crying in her classroom. She announced to the whole class “be quiet the baby needs to cry herself to sleep now”. I didn’t know who to tell. All the kids thought she was the best teacher in the school and she made me feel like a loser.
The worse thing she ever did was not reach out to me during a very difficult time in my life. She gave me my first C in school ever! I cried my heart out to her and she screamed at me. I went home that night and tried to kill myself. I took a whole bottle of ibuprofen pills. Nobody knew I did it (not even my parents). I woke up the next day not feeling well (probably from all the pills I took) and went to school anyway where she continued to make fun of me and make me feel awful.
This anxiety carried over to my high school years where I had difficulty trusting teachers and scared to speak up in class because of her. I went to a private high school with AMAZING teachers who were always helpful and never harmful. I learned to trust teachers again.
Here I am over 15 years later, a teacher of children. I make sure every kid (even my most difficult ones) feels welcome in my classroom. They deserve the most respect and I hope to model good behavior for them.
I don’t write this article to seek revenge on Mrs. Eddie. I want all teachers out there to see that your words and actions in the classroom have a lifelong impact on kids even when you feel you’re not respected.