A tiny bit of my secret.

AEIOU! You have to learn these! You will never be able to do anything in life you don’t learn these!

I can remember this Nun screaming at me day after day. Some days she would slam her palm on the table to accent each letter.

It never made sense to me.

The following year there was writing incentives that had me super excited. All I needed to do was write a very simple story and I would earn a book! While I couldn’t read it was still something I desperately wanted.

Like all good things, there was a catch.

The story had to be perfect. Capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. It took me years to spell my own name, there was no way I was ever going to earn a book.

I tried. Story was rejected over and over.

She told me to look up how to spell the words in the dictionary, like the other kids, but some of the words I didn’t even know how they started. I would sometimes just start looking at random pages hoping it would jump out which it never did.

I remember friends digging through the book box and complaining that they already had all the titles while I dreamed of just one.

I did get a book but it was never earned. I took it but felt ashamed, it was a pity book. It stings even today. It was that book with the little girl, the bear and some berries.

This pattern continued for years.

One day I decided enough was enough and I left never looking back.

My biggest regret was not sharing this story with my own class of second graders years ago. I wish I could go back and tell them these stories and so many more.

I was ashamed. I know that some will, and might do, see me as a lesser person because of it. That used to bug me but not anymore.

This quote made me think of something, don’t hide your struggles. There are so many that could benefit.

6 thoughts on “A tiny bit of my secret.

  1. I love your honesty and I can relate to how you felt back then. I think I became a teacher because I had such an unhappy early education. I was in second grade when a teacher finally realized I couldn’t read. (I was a really exceptional cheater on the reading cards we needed to do to show we could read and move up levels!)

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  2. Thank you for sharing this personal slice! Even if those second graders never heard this story, they still had a teacher who understood the lasting impact teachers have on us.

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  3. Your story is so authentic and still so relevant. I see many kids in the library that are checking out books that I know they can’t read but they want to feel they can, or at least feel that they can carry the book like everyone else. I don’t ask. My only rule is that they can check out as many books as they can return on time. Probably, even if you didn’t tell the story to your second graders, they got your powerful message. Thanks for sharing it now 😉

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  4. I teach special needs children and your outlined quote is painfully true for so many of the students I teach, and for many of their parents as well. For some adults, even coming to school for their child’s conference is anxiety-provoking for the traumatic memories attached to that edifice. Thank you for sharing what was so painful for you for so many years. Because of that, we are reminded that we have the absolute power to be the difference for every child we come in contact with. Your slice also reminds me of a quote I always loved – “Trust your struggle.”
    Great slice – thank you!

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  5. You didn’t have to tell those second graders your story for them to know what kind of school experience you wanted for them. So many of the best teachers I’ve ever known have the gift of teaching in spite of their own school experiences, not because of them. If your school experience wouldn’t have been this way, your life might have gone in a completely different direction—and what a shame and loss that would be for those of us who learn from and beside you on a daily basis!

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