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!