WordPress’ Daily prompt : Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
When I read this daily prompt there was one name that immediately came to my mind, Mrs Verhulst, my elementary school teacher at the age of 10. And although most of my teachers were the anonymous or inspiring kind, this one, well…
I still see her in front of me. Beautiful but arrogant woman, impeccable make-up and dress, high heels… get the picture?
I was a “good” student, both behaviour wise as grade wise. Suddenly, in Mrs Verhulst’s class, my grades dropped like a rock. Nothing seemed good enough anymore, be it math, language, creative… you name it.
My mom and dad were quite upset about it, especially because, when they asked me if something was wrong, I just shrugged and said “not that I know of, I do my best as I always do, but somehow, it’s not good enough”.
So, next parent’s contact evening, my mom and dad inquired the vain Mrs Verhulst… Without blinking an eye, this would-be-queen-of-Sheba answered: “Well, I just can’t stand her – that’s it – period. She can do whatever she wants the rest of the year, her grades won’t go up”
Can you imagine how my mom and dad felt? And there was so little they could do. If they would talk about it to the head teacher, she would discuss it with Mrs Verhulst, and it probably would have gotten worse.
Changing school was not an option either as the year was already 3 months gone.
So, I stayed, feeling demotivated, disappointed, left down and…. not good enough. Next year, I left my beloved school and went to a neighboring city.
I’m not saying that this… this… woman… is the sole reason of my terrible perfectionism nor of the fact that I never feel good enough, but I am sure she didn’t help either.
Nowadays there are school councils who would tell that teacher that this is not the way you handle a 10-year old, but we’re talking 45 years ago and the spirit was totally different back then.
Lucky that attitude has changed, although it might well be that the bullying was taken over by some fellow students…