I just saw my sixth grade teacher on Facebook.
And all the sudden the flood gates open with all these horrible feelings. Not particularly for that teacher, but I certainly had no good feelings for her. Honestly, I only have positive feelings towards 2 of my teachers in elementary school.
Sixth grade was a doozy of a year. I was suddenly in a class that didn’t have any of my church friends in it (almost every child at our school was LDS, but I tended to hang out with my church friends). I was horrified. I think I spent most of the year feeling left out, and sad. I really have very little memory of that year. I vaguely remember I was in the school play, I remember thinking that Brad Wilcox (who I had for math and reading, so I pretty well split my time with him and my other teacher) was over the top, veering towards creepy. I remember he had a horrible substitute that made me sick inside. I remember girls saying horribly mean things to me. I remember MANY days ending in tears.
It’s hard to believe, but I was REALLY shy as a child. Painfully shy. I had a really hard time making new friends or feeling comfortable around new people. Isn’t it funny to think of the person we were as a child. I’m obviously not that way now!
This morning while I was cleaning my bathrooms I was thinking what happened at my elementary school. I really believe that all of my kids have really good memories and feelings towards each of their teachers. “I know they all adored most of their teachers in CA. Each of those teachers made them feel like they were a special human who was worthy of their time and efforts.
And then it hit me. I really don’t think I ever had that feeling. I don’t remember feeling smart or special. I remember feeling unpopular (which was a huge issue at that elementary), and young. I remember often thinking that teachers didn’t like me. I remember writing something like a 40 page “book” for the young author’s fair and I was SO excited about it, but the teacher didn’t pick me to go visit the author. I remember being devastated. She picked kids that hadn’t tried at all. I noticed that, and it REALLY hurt my feelings. My third grade teacher, after I had a hard time memorizing the times tables, told my mom I just would never be good at math. I WAS EIGHT. Why would she say that? I knew she thought it too, my mom never told me that until later — but it was evident I wasn’t a smart or special kid to her.
We actually had to ban the wearing of Guess or Esprit at our school because there was so much taunting about what brands people wore. I never really fell into that trap, mostly because I had really great church friends who I had fun with regardless of the brand I wore.
Anyway, I then started to think about my church calling. I wonder if those kids feel smart and special in primary. Do they know that I think about them, and that I adore each of them?
Primary’s a funny calling, there is a lot I don’t know about it… but I do know that kids know when they are loved. I want each of them to know that I love them and that I am THRILLED they are at church.
And, to my sixth grade teacher, if you happen to read this… don’t think it was you. I know it was a hard year for me. I grew a lot and I was ready to face Jr High when it started.
And life went on, like it always does. 🙂
**I should also say that I am sure a hard 6th grade year propelled me into a great 7th grade year. I think I finally stopped caring what other people thought and was happy with myself. I am sure a lot of people would say I was “bullied” but I’m glad my mom just let it play out. I think it’s the hard times that mold us into making better choices for ourselves. I’m obviously quite snazzy now! 🙂