Sarah’s Story – A child bullied by a teacher can harm a life
We are all dealt different cards and there are always going to be elements of our lives we never understand. That we see differently to everyone else, but that is life. In a forever changing world, where time will never stand still, we try and predict, but never can. A child bullied by a teacher will set a course in motion that takes deliberate breaking.
We label everything
We label everything but get that so wrong too. Life so often happens to us. We cannot change the circumstance we sometimes face but, we have a choice as to how we respond. I needed to ask myself what really mattered and what I could do to be happy.
So, my story started many years ago. Now, this is not a book and therefore it is not a complete account of who I am and all that has happened to me. I started Year One at the age of six. I was a small little girl and the youngest of 3 siblings. My parents did not plan to have a 3rd child and I knew that all too well. They never said it but others did. We moved, a few weeks before I started school, from a small little town. From a lovely big house with a sprawling garden and a giant swimming pool to a big city and into a small apartment. My parents business was hard and, unfortunately, we knew that.
One person can change everything
I was a bubbly, polite and happy child when I started school, no obvious issues. But, soon after, finding myself speaking nonstop in class- which put a clear target on my back. My school days started in the age where corporal punishment was still a thing and I often received the wrath of my teacher. So many story’s I can tell but more most that I found myself the brunt, as a child bullied by her teacher. She would subject me to classroom persecution and would spank me publicly with a ruler for not being what she expected. I was NEVER included in any activities. Early in the year, I made up an imaginary sibling- a younger sister called Angela- who was always getting up to mischief. I loved her because she made me look like an angel.
Looking back, I wasn’t far off from being an angel- I had a mop of golden blonde locks that my mom kept as a halo around my head. I was often referred to as the angel version of Annie, from the musical, and I had a kind, gentle, friendly nature. How was that stolen from me due to circumstances and people? Angela was always getting up to mischief and I would love telling my teacher and class the hilarious stories of her- how she would steal ingredients in the house, or hide keys and everyone’s shoes so nobody could get ready for the day- in the hope that she (and they) would like me. She would eat frogs and put sand in our beds.
I chose to remain here
I loved recalling my imaginary world and having my listeners rolling around in fits of laughter. It all came tumbling down though! My parents were away and we were staying with Jenny, a young friend of my parents. Unfortunately, we over slept, late for school she walked me into class, chatting to my teacher, she asked how Angela was and (obviously) Jenny, having no idea, told my teacher the truth and that Angela didn’t exist. This was the start to the perpetual bullying and abuse I started to receive. My teacher flew into a rage after Jenny left and I was punished for days on end. I would get the silent treatment, be banished and even receive spankings- whatever was the choice of the hour.
I never told a living soul about how I was being treated. But I started to rebel. There were other obstacles at play too, my home life was a mess. My parents had decided to get a divorce, my sister hated my guts and could not contain her anger towards me. Left on my own all the time, I felt neglected and disliked; and so, every aspect of my life started to suffer. I withdrew into my own world, I watched TV every free minute of the day- under the coffee table, which made me invisible. What could anyone expect, I started failing school and I had no real friends.
You are not another label
My teacher kept telling my mom I was ‘just a stupid girl and would never accomplish much in academics, let alone even pass’. My mom, praise her soul, would not believe a word from my wretched teacher and started researching different options for help and therapy. I went to everyone: a Speech Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Behavioral Optometrist and an Educational Psychologist. Unfortunately, I never went to a child psychologist. Knowing what I know today, going to a child psychologist would be the best option.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD and hand eye co-ordination problems, I started wearing glasses and started a daily dose of Ritalin. Thankfully, the specialists ensured my parents that I was not stupid or simple-minded but that I was actually the opposite: I had a genius IQ. This part was wonderful because my parents would not let me forget that and told me constantly how brilliant I was, even if I was struggling at school.
I continued with every therapy under the sun, I started at a school for gifted children and my mom enrolled me in tennis and insisted I played every day. Thankfully she did this because, as a result of all that was happening in my life, I became extremely lazy and loved to procrastinate. Unfortunately, though, I chose to paint myself with the brush that I was a problem and then acted like a problem. I became cheeky and aggressive and made life for my teachers difficult.
Sadly too- as a result of the Ritalin- I hated eating and therefore I would only eat foods I liked. I only liked the unhealthy stuff, which again was incredibly harmful to my brain. My ADHD and dyslexia were my crutches in life and I blamed everything on them.
What do we accept?
Yes, I had been dealt a hard hand but I happily accepted that ‘victim mentality’! Choosing to transfer all my shortcomings onto everyone and everything else became my mantra. Becoming an aggressive and angry teenager, constantly in trouble at school, having the odd suspension and a threatened expulsion, I also chose for life to be hard. I managed to pass school fairly comfortably and headed off to university. My parents gave me unbelievable freedom. Looking back, all I can say is ‘thank you Jesus’ for keeping me safe. I dabbled in the demonic world, took to witchcraft and drugs. Loving all the unhealthy I became chubby, angry, hurt and I let you know it.
Another fork in the road
At 21, a family member dragged me to church. I went virtually kicking and screaming but I listened to the message; which was, “God has a plan for you. Give your life to him and he will change it for the better.” I thought, ‘Okay, my life is pretty darn terrible as it is and I was deeply depressed’. My mom kept saying to me, ‘If you ever want to hurt yourself, please just tell us and we will get you help.’ I thought of hurting myself all the time, but because of my parents- I never did. Praise God!
I started going to church, started seeing a pastoral counselor, my life literally changed. Deciding to change my life in every way. A friend of mine, a dietitian, guided me how to change my diet, which I did, I lost 23 kgs; my personality changed; my face even change. I implemented aspects of gratitude into my life. Worked harder and became kinder. I traveled on my own and grew some wings, I lived abroad for a few years. Deciding to get out of everything negative and cut toxic relationships, I also stopped drinking. If I told you that I was an angry teen and young adult, you would not believe me. I still love bumping into people from my past because they can’t believe it’s me.
It wasn’t all plain sailing
I had an emotional relapse in my early 30’s and sought the help of a psychologist. He was wonderful beyond words. We walked through so many emotional hurts, which I hadn’t dealt with previously, mindsets and patterns I had incorrectly believed and adopted. I am the person I am today because of trained paid professionals; thankfully steering me in the right direction and I the courage to speak out and reach out for help; I got. It took a lifetime but now know, I am kind, bubbly, quick-minded, levelheaded and fairly obsessed with health. Making the decision to look after what God gave me me, because I only get the opportunity to do it once. Knowing how short life is and I want to live mine, I want to be the best for my family.
We all have an incredible story which needs to be told, please share yours with the world.