Bullying has become such a problem in schools that I've already started worrying about my granddaughter's school days. She begins kindergarten in September.
When I think back to how often I was bullied as a child, it made me realize that it wasn't always the other students who were the bullies. Sometimes it was the teachers who made me squirm, which is just another form of bullying.
For example, I'll never forget the teacher who assigned us to write a poem. I struggled with that. I must have been 8 or 9 years old and I never had the opportunity to read much poetry or many other books, except for my school books. So I was unsure of myself when she made that assignment.
I remember watching Woody Woodpecker cartoons on television. Yes, back then my family had a tiny black and white television and my sister and I loved watching Woody Woodpecker cartoons together.
I remember my thoughts when I began writing a poem about Woody Woodpecker. The lines seemed to fall together for me.
This is my effort to write a poem at that young age.
"Little Woody Woodpecker"
Little Woody Woodpecker pecked at a tree
Then he said to a man,
You can't catch me.
The man got angry
Mad as a bee
He said to Little Woody
Get out of my prize apple tree
But Woody wouldn't do it
And the man called the police
The police couldn't and wouldn't at all.
Then the man tried to catch him with a butterfly net.
But every time Woody saw him,
He pecked him on the head.
Now if you chuckled over that poem, here is what happened afterward.
My teacher asked me to recite it in front of the class. She didn't make any of the other kids do that. I had no experience being up in front of people and for the life of me, I could not remember a word from my poem.
She said that if I wrote it, I should know it.
I have always had a hard time with what to say when put on the spot like she was doing. Still do ...
She seemed to think I hadn't wrote it.
I remember insisting that I wrote it all by myself.
I agree that the topic of the poem was much different that what the other kids wrote, but I knew they were MY words. I put them together. I wrote the poem myself all by myself.
That day is as etched in my mind as when I had my first child.
So why would a teacher do that? The way she treated me, she believed that I was lying.
The words of that poem have stayed hidden in my brain for over 50 years. I am glad to finally let them out. I only wish they would have come out when I needed them.
Just don't put me on the spot because maybe I will be speechless ... but that doesn't mean I'm a liar.