Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writers' Workshop - My Thoughtless Teacher

Her name was Mrs Shepherd and she was my Afrikaans (one of South Africa's 11 official languages) teacher in grade 12. I hated Afrikaans. Although I got good grades for written work, my ability to speak it was somewhat lacking. It is a language similar to Dutch, with lots of rrrrr sounds and gutteral-sounding G's. I tried my best, but I always sounded English. One day in class each student was taking a turn to read a passage from our set book. When it came to my turn I was so nervous I felt ill. I haltingly started reading, only to be stopped in my tracks by the words forever burned into my phsyche "Alison, for heavan's sake stop, you're killing the story!". It scarred me for life. Although I married an Afrikaans man, I refuse to speak the language - unless absolutely necessary (that being if someone held a gun to my head). When I have to speak it I feel stupid and hysterically nervous and stumble over my words just like I did that day in class.

The strange thing is that Mrs Shepherd was a really good teacher, and one of my favourites - perhaps that's why her words cut so deep. I suppose she was just having one of those days... Anyway, Mrs Shepherd, you scarred me for life. 20 Years later and I still have nightmares about high school (note the recurring dream theme), and it's all your fault!

11 comments:

Tabi said...

you poor thing! Lol....so does your husband pick on you about it too and try to get you to speak it? It's hard enough learning another lanuage without being told you stink at it! Give a person a chance!

Rhonda said...

I don't think teachers truly realize their power over us. They can help to make school feel safe and important, or they can shoot us down and scar us for life.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Ouch! Launguage is hard...but to be critisized...geez.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

oh, teachers - some horrible scars I think everyone has!!

Ren said...

That's just awful! It's crazy how much power teachers have over us, I really don't think they realize it.

Solei said...

ugh! Isn't it scary though. to think that us as adults now could (like you say) just be having one of those days, and without knowing end up scarring/hurting a child for the rest of their lives???

Yikes! so sorry that happened to you. she was really harsh. But it does put things in perspective, so I'll be sure to watch what I say around the kiddos.
=0D
(not that I say those kind of things, just saying... our words can have more of an impact than what we think)

Weeksie50 said...

That is horrible! I am sorry you were treated this way..

MrsWhimsy said...

That is awful! I have written many a post about one awful teacher that I had in 4th grade. Thoughtless is right.

Mama's Losin' It said...

Geez. These teachers are ruthless. I guess we never really take into account what kind of fragile mind we might be dealing with!! It's a shame you count power through and speak the dang language how you want to speak it!! :)

Jori-O said...

I bet if you hated her it wouldn't have bugged you as much. I love reading about life in South Africa, it sounds so exotic!

lifegoesbyfast said...

Teachers! Who needs 'em? LOL!! This is my first visit to your blog. I'm looking forward to back reading.