Teachers Good & Bad – the Time I Was Told I’d Never Be a Writer

(**Note: I just found some old writings that I’m going to share…**)

Written March 28, 2011

I very much value my teacher’s opinions, and always have (except one asshole at Florida State). Teachers have been the ones that have helped me through my most difficult times in life – as a child and as an adult. That’s why I became a teacher for a little while, until we moved here and all of the jobs were cut.

Oh… there is another teacher I didn’t like. I was attending journalism courses at Defense Information School while I was serving in the army. I was 18 years old and having a difficult time adjusting to life in general, and not quite understanding some of my coursework. I had a female Navy instructor tell me that I didn’t know how to write and that I would never be a writer. I was pissed. I’d been writing creatively since I was a young child, and I knew I could write. I just didn’t like writing about sports, because I hated sports and didn’t understand how to play them, much less write about them. I felt like telling her to shove it, but because I was afraid of everything and could have lost my rank, among other things, I kept quiet and cried, because I had been taught my whole life to shut up.

I was even doing poorly in my photography class, which seemed impossible, because I’d been taking photos since I was eight and developing film since high school – another lifelong passion of mine. I had a major yelling in my face that I wasn’t trying hard enough. But I knew I was doing the best I could. I was bawling my head off. It was humiliating being in uniform and serving your country and far away from people that matter and being told that you basically suck. They were about to send me off to some shitty bullet-counting school until they learned I was sick.

I was diagnosed as anemic and with endometriosis at the same time. No wonder I couldn’t comprehend anything being taught to me! After about three or four weeks of being hospitalized and going through surgery and healing, I finally came back and conquered it all. I even won “Best Feature Photo” of my graduating class, which was a complete surprise.

I guess I did have a few other teachers that sucked, but I try to forget about them. Mrs. Briggs, for example. Second grade. She was the meanest, most abusive teacher around, calling kids stupid and always screaming at them. She taught until she croaked, and when I saw her obit in the paper, I didn’t even flinch. I actually felt relieved that no other kid has to ever be in her classroom again. I doubt any students were sad about seeing that woman pass. I still talk to people that had her as a teacher, and we all share the same horror stories. I wrote about her in my memoir Unheard.

(**This was a journal writing that I did that had multiple topics in it. I will post more later!**)

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