My Mean Schoolteacher & Fear
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Fear is an emotion that arises due to real or perceived threats or dangers in the world that lead to the fight-or-flight response, and we all experience fear at some time or another. I remember that when I was in High School, we had a teacher who had a terrible temper, and she created so much fear when she looked at us that we would start trembling even if we had done nothing wrong. She was the deputy headmaster and also our class teacher, so she decided to rule us with an iron fist – Especially when the headmaster was away. She was our primary class teacher, so there was basically no way in which to escape her during the school day.
There was one time when she was passing by our class during prep time, and a few girls were giggling, but nobody was paying too much attention to them. She came into the class fuming as though we had done something wrong, and we were all punished. Although we tried to explain that only a few girls were giggling innocently, she refused to acknowledge this and proceeded with the class-wide punishment. I tried to stay out of her way as much as possible and always performed extremely well in her subjects, but that didn’t seem to help. If I performed better than her favorite students, she would tell me to go outside during class because I already knew everything and didn’t need to be taught. If I wrote the wrong answers to some questions in order to avoid this punishment, she would reprimand me and the others by claiming that we actually knew the answers. We were all between a rock and a hard place.
She was also the career advisor who was responsible for completing our Job Path Recommendation Forms. Some of the students were granted permission to complete their forms independently, but she called me into her office and completed my form, instructing me to become a nurse. I didn’t want to pursue the nursing prep track, but she threatened me with expulsion. Although I feared her, I realized that I had a strong desire to become involved with accounting, so I resolved myself to work hard and persevere. I remained focused and worked harder than ever before.
The Final Exam
My final exam results were difficult for me to review, because the headmaster had fallen ill, and so our teacher, the deputy headmaster was once again responsible for the whole school. I could not bring myself to face her during examinations. Everytime I thought about going to school in order to see my exam results, I began trembling and shaking, repeatedly postponing the visit to school. However, my father intervened and compelled me to go. Once I reached the school grounds, my legs weakened and I could not walk, so I sat down for hours as I was overwhelmed by my fear of this woman. I imagined her laughing at me if I failed my exams or pushing me to become a nurse if I had passed. I was terrified of blood and couldn’t bring myself to even imagine a career as a nurse.
That afternoon I decided that I would need to find the inner strength to face whatever was ahead of me, and I knew that not even a teacher could ultimately control my destiny – I was determined to face my examination results because they were mine and mine alone. I had worked hard and done my best, and that is what I was supposed to do – Not comply with the rigid demands of somebody who constantly attempted to control others through fear. I stood up and went straight to her office, but I was shocked to see her smiling for the first time. She gave me the list of scores to see my results, but she was being coy with me in some way by not revealing which scores were mine. It turned out that I was one of the top performing students in the school, and she hugged me with congratulatory affirmations. I had triumphed over my fear of this person, and she had already begun to shift her relationship with me as a result of the school year coming to an end.
On that day I walked out of school knowing that when things work against you with an aim to impede or harm you, we must all rise above the challenge and become the best of the best. Don’t give in and throw in the towel. Do whatever it takes to overcome your challenges, even if you don’t feel like doing anything at all.
- Anonymous Contributor