Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you. --Dr. Seuss
My stomach hurts. I do not feel like getting up and going to school. My friends think I am dumb; my teachers think I am dumb. Even my parents have that look on their faces whenever they try to help me with my homework. I hate school! Why do I need to learn?!
Do you know what it feels like to be in Mrs. C’s classroom? There is so much noise! I cannot work in my group table because everyone seems to be talking at the same time. They always seem to have the answers before I have even understood the question! I am dumb I guess. But Mrs. C says group work helps build collaboration skills. I wish she could come and join my group and experience what I feel. If I ask her for help, she strolls over and puts her arm around my shoulder. When I try to explain that I am finding it hard to work, she patiently explains what I have to do all over again. I see her lips moving. No sound seems to be coming out. Just a whiff of…garlic? Her pitying face turns slightly exasperated as I nod blankly at her. I bend over and squeeze my eyelids tight, fighting back tears. They roll down nevertheless. I taste their warm saltiness as I pretend to work.
My worst days are when Mrs. C. gives us research work. I have to plough through endless websites and collect information. There is so much information! My head hurts. My eyes become bleary. I feel embarrassed when Mrs. C’s voice breaks the stillness. I find a sea of faces staring at me. My friends are grinning. My teacher is frowning. Guiltily, I stop staring out of the window and pretend to concentrate. I cannot. I keep remembering the time she had torn my work up because my writing started in the middle of the page instead of next to the margin. It had taken me 40 minutes to write those lines!
The worst part is when no one wants me in their group. My teacher asks me sarcastically, if I know why no one wants me in their group. Yeah, I know Mrs. C. That is something I know! I am dumb.
Break time. I find myself hovering around the playground, hoping some of my friends will ask me to join their football team. No one does. They assume I am not the sporty type. The other day, I scored a goal against my dad and brother. I am pretty good at football. No one knows that. No one gives me a chance. I squeeze my fists and try to keep rage and frustration at bay. But this is nothing compared to how I feel when I am not invited to a birthday party. I am not cool enough, I guess. That hurt never really goes away.
I wish my teacher would just sit down, breathe, and relax. I wish she would ask everyone how their day was. I wish her smile was warmer. I wish carpet time was longer. I want everyone to know who I really am. I want to share my thoughts and feelings. I want them to reach out and help me. I want them to understand that deep down, I am not really dumb. I just learn differently. I take time. I love playing games on the computer. I wish my teacher would give me math games to play. I wish she could give me a table of my own, where I could think at my pace. Without the noise and the superficial collaboration.
I hate writing. But I have great ideas. My mum always says that. Why is it that my teacher cannot figure that out? I wish she would not ask us to write a 4 page essay. It takes me half an hour just to write a passage! The other day, I was playing with my dad’s phone. I recorded an amazing story. Every one listened to it and clapped. They thought it was hilarious. Encouraged and excited, I brought the phone to school to share with my friends and teacher, but Mrs. C. was furious. She said it was against the school rules. She sent a stern letter home informing my parents to ensure this did not happen again. It won’t ever happen again Mrs. C. But if you allow me to share my ideas instead of writing them down on paper, I would love to see the look of surprise on your face. That would be a precious gift from you. A look of surprise.
It would burst that bubble of your ignorance, Mrs. C. Someday, I hope.