Wednesday June 20, 2018
Aahh Forget It!
You’ve Got This Part I
As a young boy dealing with adversity, poverty and, to make things worse, dyslexia, I did have some great teachers. But I also had plenty who made things worse for me. The quotes below are all genuine. The teachers who said them probably do not remember saying them. Or remember me. But I remember what they said. Their words have always stuck with me and, for too long a time, they defined me. But not now.
“Really has two l’s not one. Are you really that stupid?”
“Michael! You can’t even copy the words down right from the board! Sort it out.”
“I don’t think writing is your strong point, why don’t you just try drawing the story.”
“If you can’t spell properly you will end up being a dustbin man”
“My dad’s a dustbin man.”
“You have a great imagination but if you can’t spell, use correct punctuation and nobody can understand it, what’s the point?”
“This is like reading Sanskrit!”
Teacher (Secondary) - Talking to someone we knew was important because they had a clipboard, in front of the whole class.
“I have a very low-level class, some can’t even spell their name correctly, ha ha..”
“You just never try, maybe if you tried you might be able to actually achieve something.”
“I am trying.”
“Well there must be something wrong with you then.”
“Your writing looks like it belongs on another planet sometimes, Michael.”
“Your writing is very low level. Maybe you should stick to sports, you’re great at rugby.”
“You’re 15 going on 16, why can’t you read?”
Teacher (Secondary, at a parents evening, something my mum usually refused to attend)
“Seriously this kid is just causing a MASSIVE upset in the classroom. He can’t even read or write properly. What are we going to do?
“We will just have to find something that does work.”
“Hang on a minute ... do you have a daughter in this school? Are you Beth’s mum?
(Proudly) Yes, that’s right. I’m Beth’s mum
(After 15 intense seconds of silence) “Wow. You must be so disappointed in Michael.”
I wish these where made up but they’re all completely, shamelessly true. The teachers who said them are probably still teaching. Like I say, I did have some great teachers but, looking back, most of these were outside of the classroom.
Talking in this way to a young, anxious individual who was already being bullied by his peers for a number of reasons and who clearly didn’t need his ‘higher authority figures’ joining in, is madness.
Because of school, I actually veered well away from writing for a long time, I became phobic of the pen! The problem is I still hear so many more horror stories from friends and young people sharing their experiences of teachers who have trampled over their confidence in the name of standards, test results and a quick laugh in the classroom. It is my firm belief writing is for everyone.
We are all quirky, strong, interesting individuals with fascinating stories itching to be told, but some have completely lost their confidence to write.
Words have such power. Although they can leave you in the darkest pit of self-deprecating despair, they can also elevate you beyond what you thought was ever possible.
In the second part of this blog, I’m going to share with you how this ‘disappointment’ from a small-minded town in Derbyshire found the courage to pick the pen back up and write about things that mattered to him and how writing became his pathway to a unique career and lifestyle, with so many new friendships and, most of all, happiness.
And, if you’re a dyslexic ‘disappointment’ reading this too, nice to meet you. You’ve got this, I promise. (RM)
Mikey Markham (AKA Rhythmical Mikey) is an Independent Thinking Associate who is in demand by schools and colleges across the country helping teachers help get the best out of children when it comes to creativity, literacy and confidence.