Good morning, everyone. Today, I want to address something that few people would like to admit. Although the vast majority of teachers are very good, hard-working, caring people who love all children and deserve the utmost respect, there are always a few bad apples, who clearly do not belong in the teaching profession.
Out of about 30 teachers that I had during my years in school, about 3 were bullies themselves. And because of the power dynamic, there is sadly not much that can be done to protect yourself against a bully teacher.
Here is an excerpt from my book, “From Victim to Victor” about my own experience with a bully teacher:
“…For the next few weeks, anytime I was in Mrs. Wallace’s class, I made sure not to do anything to draw attention to myself. I wanted to be invisible to her…out of sight and out of mind. But no matter how quiet I stayed and how much I tried to blend in with the rest of the class, I knew that there was no way to escape from her for long. I would glance up and see Mrs. Wallace keeping a very watchful eye on me. As she would stand and instruct the class, either lecturing or announcing assignments, her eyes would quickly skim over the entire class, then stop and seem to settle on me.
Mrs. Wallace would pace slowly up and down each row of students as she gave lecture, then stop maybe six to ten feet in front of me and watch me very closely, glaring and looking me up and down. She seemed to study me, searching for something…anything. Her eyes bore into mine as if she were trying to read my thoughts and drill down into my very soul. And it was unsettling, to say the least.
And the really sick part? I had the feeling that she was doing it deliberately…for the sole purpose of disarming me…rattling me…throwing me off, in hopes that I would, out of nervousness, accidentally say or do something…anything…that she could use as an excuse to unleash her viciousness again. The thought that I would have to endure her class for an hour every day for the next eight and a half months gave me the creeps. Beatrice Carroll Wallace was indeed a force to be reckoned with.
This was the year of the mini-skirts for me. I had purchased two of them to wear to school, a dark denim skirt which was two inches above the knee and acid washed denim skirt, which was four. School policy had stated that mini-skirts were not to be worn any shorter than four inches above the knee. Four inches was the limit.
Every time I wore the shorter acid washed skirt to school, Mrs. Wallace would have a fit and swear up and down that it was too short. However, the day she took me to the office and had the principal stick a ruler to the side of my leg and measure from knee to hemline, my skirt measured exactly four inches above the knee and I was safe from being sent home. This only further infuriated Mrs. Wallace and made her even more determined to make things tough.
There came a day in late September, when it all came to a climax. Mrs. Wallace had notes already written on the board and I was copying them down in my notebook. I suddenly felt her eyes piercing the back of my head as I wrote. I paused, turning and looking to see her standing behind me, looking over my shoulder at what I was writing.
“Well, I can see that you are actually copying your notes down instead of writing some story that you’ve conjured up in that pea brain of yours.” She remarked.
I just scoffed, turned around, shook my head and continued writing.
“What was that?!” She demanded, raising her voice. “Girl, you can scoff and shake your head all you want! It only goes to show that you don’t have the guts to say what you really want to say to me.” She growled with venom oozing from her voice.
The class burst into laughs, hooting and hollering. Mrs. Wallace looked at the rest of the class.
“She doesn’t know who she’s dealing with, does she class?” She asked them, standing over me and folding her arms.
“Nope. ‘Sure don’t.” One classmate mumbled.
She looked back down at me.
“You know, for a girl who dates full grown men…I don’t know…either because the older adult males don’t really know her like the ones her age do, or because she wants to get in their pockets, you seem real sure of yourself, Cherie! Or is it just for show? Maybe you’re really just a scared, pathetic little girl on the inside but try to display false bravado and fake coolness to cover it up!” She said, leaning in closer.
“Ha-ha! BINGO!” Another classmate shouted.
At that point, I could take no more. I slammed my textbook shut, slammed my notebook on top of it, and grabbed both my books and purse.
“That’s it! I’ve had enough!” I said matter-of-factly. And I headed straight for the door.
“If you walk out of this class, your next stop is either the principal’s office or the streets, one or the other!” The teacher called after me.
“Suits me just fine.” I said bluntly before walking out and slamming the door behind me.
Just then, the door flew back open again and she stormed out into the hall.
“You have some nerve walking out of my class! We’ll just take this up with Mr. Tavington!” Mrs. Wallace thundered.
“Fine!” I shot back.
She was just as catty as most of the girls my age. The claws came out and the fur flew. Thus the bitter exchange between Mrs. Wallace and I began and continued back and forth. It was tit for tat, as we made our way to the principal’s office.
“You want attention? Well, you’re about to get it, girl!” She spat.
“Ugh! You’re the last person I want attention from! I’d rather catch a flesh-eating virus!” I shot back.
“When we get to that office, a flesh-eating virus will be the least of your worries!” She continued.
“Really??? Oh, I am petrified!” I kept on, refusing to back down as she continued to beat her chest.
“Who do you think you are?”
“I’m a human being with feelings!”
“Is that right? Well, you don’t act like you have any feelings…for anyone other than yourself and you for sure have no morals either!”
“Wow! You’re one to preach about morals!”
“Girl, your mouth’s writing checks your body can’t cash!”
“Go to hell!”
“You’re going to think you’re in hell when I’m through with you!”
I stopped and turned to face her, looking her in the eyes.
“You think you know me so well, don’t you? You don’t know a damn thing about me! All you know is what other people tell you and they don’t know SQUAT!”
“I know more than you think, missy!”
I turned back around and kept walking. This was the first and only time I had ever cursed a teacher. However, I was in a state of very high piss and at a point to where I no longer cared about the possible ramifications of my words. I no longer feared any consequences because I had been pushed too far and did not have it in me to be intimidated by her any longer.
“Keep mouthing off! Just keep it up! Just because you’re old enough to drive a car doesn’t mean you’re grown, honey! But I can sure treat you like you’re grown…make you grow up sooner than you want to! Believe that!”
When we got to the office, I was angry to the point of crying. How could she think that she could use her position as a teacher to single me out, provoke me by humiliating me in front of everyone…make a spectacle of me and expect me to just sit there and not leave? I could have gone completely postal on her if I did not have the self-control and restraint that I had. Instead, I took the better and wiser option. I got my butt up and left.
I sat there, sobbing as I told Mr. Tavington everything, with Mrs. Wallace standing over me with her arms folded and a look of scorn mixed with gratification on her face. She just knew that he was going to expel me. However, the look of compassion on Mr. Tavington’s face was apparent. Although he never admitted it with the spoken word, he knew what I was going through. Mr. Tavington knew! I could see it in his eyes and the way he looked at me. He sat there and listened as I talked. He never interrupted, nor did he trivialize anything I had to say. He just listened with empathy. When he did speak, he spoke softly, almost compassionately.
Mr. Tavington was one of the few people at Oakley High School that I had the utmost respect for. He was an excellent judge of character who always saw the bigger picture. He was never quick to pass judgement, nor did he make spur of the moment decisions based on hearsay. Joe Tavington was a man who went strictly by the criteria of right and wrong, considering the individual circumstances of every student sent before him. He was a fair and just man, showing no partiality nor favoritism. For that, I admired him…”
The only thing to do is to be the best student you can possibly be and do it for yourself. Do not try to impress the bullying teacher because if your efforts seem contrived, you will only become an even bigger target for being a try-hard. Just be your sweet, smart, awesome self and hold on to your self-esteem. Never allow yourself to be convinced that you are less than.
Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!