I was absolutely mortified. If I could have hidden under my desk and disappeared, I would have. We were in 9th grade. Our Earth Science teacher started maternity leave and our teacher for the second half of the year was the formerly retired Mr. Makower. He was old, he was fat, and as far as I'm concerned, he was evil.
I spent a ton of time working on my project about the striations in Bear Mountain State Park and how they related to the glacier that covered the area during the last ice age. My dad had driven me to the park on a few occasions and helped me find, measure, and check the orientations of all those scratches in the rocks. It was a lot of effort and calculations on my part, and I was proud of it. I did solid work, and I didn't choose an easy project like many of the other kids in class.
He destroyed me. It was his first day teaching our class, and apparently, he was an expert on striations. I have always been very shy and prone to panic attacks. I hated speaking in front of my classmates; I didn't want to get made fun of, so I spoke quietly.
Mr. Makower made fun of my for being quiet. He pretended to search for a microphone. He told me he didn't like mice in his classroom (get it, I was quiet like a mouse-so not funny). He stood further and further away from me and made me repeat myself. He made a big production of changing the seating arrangements in class so I was directly in front of his desk.
I tried so hard not to burst into tears, but didn't really succeed. That's when he really pounced. He started asking me questions about glacial striations in other areas. I didn't know the answers, since my project only dealt with the striations at Bear Mountain State Park. He asked me some questions I could answer, and then kept trying to one-up me. He mocked my answers and made sure he proved to the class that he knew more than me. Of course he did! I was 14 and a student-he was in his 70s and the teacher.
I have never been so humiliated in school. He took a project I was proud of and turned it, and me, into the butt of his joke. Throughout that half a year, he made sure to embarass me on many other occasions. I wasn't a dumb kid-I got all As, and took honors and AP classes. He made me feel like I wasn't a worthwhile person. He made me hate going to his class-and I had always loved everything in school, even math, which I wasn't really good at.
I still don't know what I did to him to make him treat me like that. He was mean to some of the other smart girls in the class, but he picked on me every day. I can remember him giving me a B- on a paper, and the only comment on the entire thing was my misspelling of Massachusetts in the bibliography. I despise him to this day, and the way he treated me still haunts me.
There is no excuse for a teacher treating a student like that. They are there to help kids learn and grow and become better people. They are not supposed to tear kids down and make them feel worthless. I wish I hadn't been afraid to tell someone else in school about him. That man should never have been allowed to be a teacher.
I pray my kids never ever have to deal with someone like him. And if they do, I hope they will tell me. Because I am not that scared little girl anymore, and now, I would rip someone like him apart.
I wrote this post in response to one of this week's prompts from Mama Kat's Writers Workshop. I chose 4.) A time you felt wronged by a teacher. (inspired by Great Fun 4 Kids).