Archive for August, 2012

Damaging Teacher from Hell – 1st grade

2012-08-23 04:36:54 PST

Once upon a time, I was in first grade. At nearly half a century old, that was quite a while ago – nearly 45 years ago. I had a really horrible first grade teacher. And I’m not talking at all about some teacher that was just poor or ineffective at teaching. No, it was far worse than that. Over the years, I’ve come to realize just how very damaging that teacher was to me – quite highly so. “Teacher from Hell” – is a relatively apt descriptor, as that teacher sure as hell made first grade hell for me – and not only that, but her impacts and influence quite significantly screwed up about 4 years of elementary school for me. Even quite beyond that, her nasty, hellish, damaging impacts seriously screwed up critical developmental years for me, and quite possibly significantly screwed up key aspects of my life – quite possibly in ways that may never get corrected or “fully” corrected – if such were even possible. Yup, quite likely the damage she did was very substantial to me, and in ways that I just can’t go back and undo damage and negative impacts that not only highly impacted key critical years of my life, but that likely had significant lasting negative impact on decades of my life, and in ways that still have negative impacts through to today, and may always have such a negative impact on me. Regardless, I can’t change the past, … only the future … maybe.

So, what the hell did this teacher do? Sexual abuse? No. Physical abuse? No – well, at least not per se, on either of those – at least directly. So, what happened, what did she do? I don’t know if she did quite or highly the same with other classes before, and since, but rather to quite – perhaps even highly likely. As best I understand it, her modus operandi was as follows – I’m presuming she did highly similar with other classes – in any case, the class I was in, she very much did so – and most notably and highly specifically, with me! In the class, she would highly specifically single out one particular example student. The student to be the negative example. The “don’t be like that kid!” example. Weak, small, slow, stupid, underachiever, underperformer, gets into trouble, doesn’t do as told, “bad” kid, nobody likes the kid, nobody wants to be friends with or around the kid, etc., etc. Pretty much anything and everything that one wouldn’t want to be as as a first grader, and would generally be a – the bad example, in pretty much every way possible. For her, I was singled out by her to be that kid and to be coerced to highly fit the mold of that very negative example for her. Why me? Why the hell did she pick me to be the victim of her destructiveness? Best I can tell, she singled out the smallest, youngest, weakest kid in the class – and then that kid was the “chosen” one to be coerced to fit that negative role model and to be made the negative example of, for her class. I was the smallest kid in the class – and rather to quite likely the youngest. I don’t recall precisely what the minimum and maximum ages for school enrollment were, but I was towards the youngest allowed. Had I been born a bit over 3 months later, I wouldn’t have been allowed to have been enrolled in school when I was, but would have had to wait at least one additional school year to enroll. I think the allowed age range spanned about 2 years, or perhaps even a slight bit more. In any case, I was generally towards, if not the, youngest in my classes – including that one. I was also almost always the smallest – certainly was in that class, and from kindergarten through 6th grade, I was almost always the smallest kid in my class – not just among the boys, but overall, smaller than the girls too. I wasn’t a huge baby – not premature or anything like that, but towards the lighter and smaller side, and, between the relatively younger age in school for my class grades, and the generally lighter, smaller physical size, I was almost always smallest kid in my kindergarten through 6th grade classes, and was very much the smallest kid in my first grade class. So, I think because of that, and nothing else, she chose me to be her negative example. I know of no other plausible reason. I was a good kid, pretty much “average”, or even at least moderately better, around that time – most notably as evidenced by my year before that in kindergarten, and my year after that in 2nd grade. Certainly nothing remarkable, and most certainly nothing remarkable in some negative way. But, for the teacher from Hell in first grade, she singled me out to be her negative example, and that was the role she’d coerce me to fit as best she could, and would always point me out as such – even if and where it weren’t true, or at all justifiable or supportable.

So, what the hell did she do to me? She was the ringleader of the abuse, ridicule, put downs, bullying, etc. I kind’a wish I could recall in much more detail exactly what did and didn’t happen, to what extent, exactly how regularly and consistently, but regardless, I do remember much of it rather to fairly well. Did I get beat up? No, not quite that. I think there was some understanding that that level and nature of physical abuse and violence wouldn’t be tolerated. So, not (quite) that. But, what did go on, and did the other kids get in trouble for it – or heck, that teacher from Hell, for what she was doing to me? Pretty much not … ever. I only remember one incident where any other kid(s) got at all into any trouble for what they’d done to me. It’s relatively remarkable and noteworthy in that seems that’s the level it had to rise to, to get any kind of attention or action – and even at that, not much was done, and the general patterns of abuse, etc., continued. So, that incident – what happened? Two boys – a pair of brothers – in the boy’s restroom, they urinated all over me – very intentionally pissed all over my pants in the restroom. I also think quite likely that may have been the – or about the – only incident where any of the other kids were at all reprimanded, is the evidence was there and pretty undeniable. Smelly pissed on pants – and in places and manner where I really just could not have done that myself. So, yeah, those two brothers got sent to the principal’s office. But no, it didn’t stop their abuse or bullying etc., nor that of any of the other kids – mostly – if anything, just served to have them “adjust” their bullying and abuse a bit, so as to not leave such clear evidence that some abuse had occurred. Another typical example, another kid, and pretty sure it was also first grade – though might possibly have been a bit later (e.g. 2nd grade) – in cafeteria/auditorium area in the school, our class lined up, along/around a wall. The kid shoves his hand into my pants and inside my underwear, and remarks to the kid next to him, “I feel his butt.”. I’m pretty darn sure nobody got punished or reprimanded on that one. In fact I rather doubt I even told anyone. With teacher from Hell, as far as I’m aware, if I ever reported any such incidents, I was always blamed, and never believed … perhaps only excepting that incident where those other two boys pissed all over my pants. Coerced. I had to fit her mold. E.g. I remember once, lunchtime. Teacher wasn’t in the room, we had “lunch monitors”. If kids misbehaved – even in the slightest, the lunch monitor would write their name on the board – and the teacher would deal with the kid(s) upon her return. Well, once, my name got written on the board. Probably for the high crime of something so minor as – I don’t know – talking too loud? Was damn near nothing, whatever it was. So, teacher from Hell returns. What happens? She runs down the litany of every possible thing a kid could do wrong at lunch to possibly get their name written on the board, asking each in turn, “Did you do this?” or maybe it was much more, “You did this, didn’t you?” … probably the latter, as I think of it. In any case, she had me confessing to every accusation she could make. And why the hell would I be doing that? Coercion. By then she had me quite sufficiently “trained”, that I knew I’d get in less trouble confessing to all kinds of stuff I didn’t do – as she quite wanted to blame me for anything and everything – than to at all deny or even attempt to deny what I’d not done at all. And she had the whole class complicit in it. No one would stick up for me against her.

What kind of impacts then, and did anyone do anything about it? Well, in first grade, I had horrible stomach aches – quite debilitating. Enough so that I was home sick with stomach ache – and very bad one – pretty commonly. After this had been going on quite regularly a while, mom gets me to the doctor to check out the chronic repeated stomach aches. Eventually do quite a bit of testing and diagnostics and such. And what do the doctors eventually conclude? Psychosomatic – which happened to be exactly the correct diagnosis. But I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly why, or how bad the situation was. After all, a 5 or 6 year old kid isn’t the most adept at explaining competently and in great and highly accurate detail, how his teacher is psychologically abusing him, and is ringleader in the entire class of kids being at least complicit in, if not also quite highly also participating in that abuse (and not all of it merely psychological). I think also, in my quite fearing that teacher, I may have said relatively little. E.g. I probably thought/felt, that if I at all brought my parent(s) or the school administration’s attention or scrutiny down upon that teacher, then it would probably only further worsen my situation, as I’d suffer further reprisals under that teacher. My parents, though, did have at least slight bit of a clue. My mom thought I should definitely be moved out from under that teacher and into a different 1st grade class – though I don’t know that she at all knew or realized how bad it was, or in what way(s) specifically, but I think she knew “enough” to know that, to say the least, I was highly unhappy and uncomfortable under that teacher. My dad, however, had a somewhat different take on it. Probably neither parent having all that much clue as to what fully was going on, their interpretation of much of it was that the teacher was “strict”. My mom thinking and of opinion too strict, and I should be moved to a different teacher. My dad’s opinion essentially being that strict is relatively good, and though it might be a bit hard and/or uncomfortable, I’d generally be better for such experience overall – so he was of the opinion that I stay under that teacher … don’t know exactly how the dynamics of that played out between them and school administration – but regardless, I stayed under that teacher. And lo and behold … after first grade, and before, no such stomach aches. So, yeah, what’s extreme negative stress do to a 5 or 6 year old kid? One (partial) answer – chronic stomach aches.

So, yeah, teacher from Hell. Not a bad kid, not bad at all, not stupid, slow, etc. Yet for her I was all those negative things and much more, and coerced to be so, or at least as nearly as she could manage for me to fit that mold and counter-example of hers. What kinds of impacts? Kindergarten was fine – or quite fine enough for me. First grade? I don’t think I had any friends – not a one … not surprising, as friends would generally be from class – if at all. I don’t think anyone in the class at all liked me or wanted to have anything to do with me – or if they so much as did in the least – or even at all sympathetic, they probably highly feared to at all show such – especially if teacher from Hell might ever get word of such or even suspect such. And, a relatively small school. I think at that time there was more than one first grade class – but most likely only one other first grade class. So, around half or so of the kids at my grade level at that school, were thoroughly trained and oriented, at a very young influential age, of what a horrible, bad, cruddy, weak, slow, stupid, etc. kid I was. So I think that very substantially influenced and impacted how the other kids did – and didn’t interact with me, through at least all the years where I continued at that same school – so beyond 1st grade, there were about another 3 full years I was at that school – so about 4 total years of quite negative impact – most egregiously so in first grade itself, but quite significantly for about another 3 full years – mostly owing to how the kids had been “trained” and oriented towards me in such highly negative way.

So, those additional 3 nearly full years at that school. What kind of ongoing negative impacts and influences? Oh, bullying, name calling, shunning, etc. Fair bit of that. Teachers could only do so much to attempt to stop that – didn’t really change it all that much. I think also, “way back then”, bullying wasn’t taken as seriously. Fights? Yeah, some kids beat me up. So, in elementary school, what kids physically beat me up, and when? 5th grade. First to do so was a girl. Yup. Second to do so was also a girl. They were the only two kids to do so in elementary school to me – but in 5th grade those two girls beat me up quite a number of times. I was still almost certainly the smallest kid in the class. Also, around 5th grade, physically, developmentally, girls start to shoot out ahead of the boys – so they’re often also taller and stronger around or starting around then. So yes, two girls, but they were certainly also larger, taller, and probably quite stronger than I.

Lasting negative impacts? Quite possibly, and very probably. So, if a young kid – say around 5 or 6, is Autistic, or has Asperger Syndrom – or might, what kind of environment would one want to put the kid in and have for the kid? Well, doing things to help the kid comfortably interact and socialize would generally be a quite good thing. That first grade environment I got, however, would’ve been quite hellishly opposite to that. Socialize? Make friends. More like quite ostracized. Build self-confidence and self-esteem? How ’bout more like squash it and beat it into the ground. Yeah, a very bad environment – for any kid – and regardless, would be even more damaging for a kid somewhere on the Autism spectrum. Even if it is or were the case that such kid has no Autism spectrum disorder at all, such a hostile and damaging environment might produce results with relatively similar characteristics – e.g. lots of quite poor social adjustment. So, what did it do to me? Hard to say precisely, but I’m sure it had quite negative impacts for at minimum several years, and quite likely decades beyond that and through to today – and beyond? I know, e.g., back around kindergarden, I wasn’t shy. By 6th greade, I was very much quite shy. Not sure precisely when that changed between, but it very definitely changed. There were some other significant things besides the first grade teacher from Hell that happened in that time range – so possibly some other stuff, or combination thereof – but I’m quite certain the teacher from Hell thing was definitely not at all a good influence, and was in fact rather to quite damaging. E.g. making friends, or relationships – essentially most any particularly good meaningful connections. I quite suck at that. Sure, I do make some, but very rarely. 2nd grade through into high school, I’d generally only have one friend at a time – a “best” friend – might be relatively friendly with some other(s), but really, would mostly just be exactly and only one (“best”) friend, and, especially outside of school itself, really had about zero to do with anyone else. And I’d gain friends slowly, seldom, and hang onto them pretty tightly. Ditto for relationships of any merit and consequence. Most all my adult life, I’ve made about one good/excellent friend – or relationship – per decade, … well, not even quite that “high” a rate, less than that actually. Back before that, in school, all the way back to 2nd grade, made friends infrequently, slowly, and relatively rarely changed/switched friends. And how do I do approaching folks, making and forging those contacts? Most all my adult life, most all those good/excellent friends and relationships – how’d we meet – almost always on or via online. So, yeah, despite lots of time, effort, in-person interactions, etc., I highly fail to make friends (or better) starting from in-person contact. Really quite just doesn’t happen – hardly ever – almost never, despite all the years and people I’ve been in contact with, around, interacted with, etc. And no shortage of wish or desire or interest there. Just has not happened. So, yeah, something highly not working there – and I don’t know what it is. Maybe I never learned how to forge those connections – at least from starting with any kind of in-person contact. Quite possibly first grade teacher from Hell thoroughly f*cked that up for me majorly, many decades ago, when everyone else was learning how to do that growing up, I got quite screwed out of that, and have yet to piece that back together where I can manage to successfully form such connections. Well f*ck you [I’ll leave that teacher’s name out – not that I care at all about her or her legacy], you miserable piece of sh*t poor excuse for a human being! What a piece of sh*t you were! Yeah, she’s probably long since dead. She was around retirement age when I was in first grade. If she were alive today, she’d probably be about 108 years old. Yeah, I’m a nice, non-violent, respectful, etc. guy and all that. But if I ever encountered her grave, I think I’d spit on it.