This post has been inspired by The Uni Looney who was asking what people regretted. I posted a response there about one of my biggest regrets…allowing my Guidance Teacher at School to completely destroy my self esteem.
The first three or four years of secondary school for me were very tough. I was bullied by my peers. The bullying was so bad that the Police were involved on a number of occasions following these people assaulting me, on one occasion to the point where I needed to go to Accident and Emergency. Of course, at that age, police involvement made everything worse as it gave them yet another “reason” to bully me.
At the same time my guidance teacher was making me feel stupid and intellectually inferior. I’ll admit that I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’m not stupid either. However, the way she presented things and said things made me feel as though I was. My grades started to slip in my second year of Secondary School and this gave her more cause to make me feel stupid. However, I was missing a great amount of school due to severe asthma attacks (bad enough for me to be taken to A&E by Ambulance on blue lights on a number of occasions). This of course had a severe impact on my performance and attainment. Help ad support from her was not forthcoming and she reluctantly started to support me when my parents started complaining to the head of year.
As I moved into third year the bullying was becoming more intense. My grades were starting to improve again as my health was improving and thus I was attending school much more often. However, despite my grades improving she still found ways in which to make me feel stupid. I excelled in Business, Administration and Modern Studies throughout my third and fourth year and my results in English and Mathematics began to improve as well, although not to great levels. I was still missing some school due to my asthma and in particular chemistry suffered. At this time in my life I had little interest in pursuing a career in the Law. I wanted to be a Doctor. However, as I was underperforming in science my guidance teacher started attacking my aims to become a doctor and I abandoned them in favour of a career in Teaching and then the Police.
My standard Grade results were pretty average (although far below the school average). This affected what I could take in my fifth year. In my fifth year I took two subjects at Higher (Modern Studies and Business Management) and three at Intermediate two level (French, Maths and English). My Guidance teacher ended up being my teacher for French, which meant I had 6 hours a week with her. French was never a strong point of mine and I only took it because I was forced to (I had wanted to sit Higher Modern Studies, Business Management, Administration and Accounting and Finance along with Intermediate 2 English but the school would not allow it)
My fifth year results were not too bad and I achieved AA at higher. Moving into sixth year I was considering a career in Law at this point and was looking at university courses. In my sixth year I was undertaking Higher English, Higher History and Advanced Higher Modern Studies. When I had my careers interview with my guidance teacher during the UCAS process she looked at my choices and said “I think you’re setting your sights very high and that maybe you should consider this” at this point she gave me a college prospectus for the local college to go and study media (something that was of no interest to me at all). I had many a battle over my university choices with her. She even attempted to prevent me from going to university open days. However, that didn’t work as all sixth years were entitled to attend two open days of their choice.
Throughout the final year she continually told me that I’d never get into University let alone to study Law. I began to doubt myself and when my offers came through I doubted myself so much that I nearly rejected all of the offers that I received.
We had a temporary librarian during my sixth year and she was utterly appalled at the way my guidance teacher spoke to me. She told me that she felt my guidance teacher was speaking to me like an animal and treating me like smoothing she would wipe from the bottom of her shoe. It was my Modern Studies teacher (who I am still in contact with) and the temporary librarian who persuaded me not to reject my offers.
So, between the bullying and constantly being made to feel that I’m stupid by the teacher responsible for guiding me through school and onto my chosen career path, I left secondary school with very little self-esteem. I had little confidence in my ability; I became very shy and quiet (the complete opposite of what I was when I started secondary school in August 2000).
I’m not saying that the only reason I’m the way I am today is because of her and the people who bullied me. I allowed them to destroy my self-esteem and in my mind I’m to blame as well.
My teenage years were particularly unhappy outside of school as well. The relationship between my father and me was (and still is) a very volatile one. We constantly argued often coming to physical blows. Although, things have improved there is still a lot of tension between us.
Anyway, that’s enough of that. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about all that stuff! I never really intended this blog to be a personal one, but over time the personal posts have grown in number. It was initially meant to be a blog based on my political opinions and my views on legal stories. Isn’t it strange just how things pan out?