The first thing my new teacher said was a very sharp and commanding ‘hi’. My mum quickly introduced me as I was completely frozen on the spot by his impressionable persona. While I was motionless, the conversation he had with my mum seemed blurry. I was staring at him; he had glasses, no moustache. Looking at his facial expression, he seemed serious and authoritative. Then, I was briefly distracted by my new classmates whispering, ‘that’s Telma’. I wondered whether it was a good sign or not? I knew a couple from the playground. I then remembered my new teacher telling my mum, ‘leave her with me, I will look after her’. He gave me half a smile and for a split second, I felt reassured. I don’t even remember my mum leaving. As I slowly entered the new classroom, you could hear a pin drop. No one was talking but looking at me as I was following the teacher to my new sit. I wondered whether my notorious reputation followed me here or whether everyone was weary of the teacher.
Once he stood by the black board, he looked at the class with a serious stare. Frowning while examining the class, it felt like an inspection. As I gain my seat, he welcomed us with rules and expectations for the year. During break time, I got to know my classmates, although one in particular got my attention. She was new herself and she was Spanish. I was relieved I wasn’t the only one new. I was sort of hoping this new year was a fresh start and would not be as bad as I thought or expected it to be.
All was going well considering the changes, however, I still had poor grades and found myself the 2nd bottom of the whole class. I knew what that meant, I was an easy target for the teacher and the subject of ridicule of my classmates.
I was already dreading what a long year it was going to be. To make matters worse, there were 2 guys in the class who didn’t like me, well who didn’t stand me at all. No matter how tough I was mentally, I was a girl and clearly out of my depth. I would always put up with a fight, however, I had to surrender. I wonder why they didn’t like me? Was it my colour, my grades or my strong character because I wasn’t the typical girly girl? Probably the combination of all 3. I remembered because of my grades, the teacher always stuck with the bullies than me. I tasted yet again a sense of injustice. For instance, one day after school, as I was rushing home for lunch, I was cowardly ambushed by the 2 boys who punched and kicked me. I tried to fight them off, to no avail. Beside, no one was around so it would have been their words against mine. I knew I wouldn’t be believed nor supported if I reported them. I had no choice but to suffer in silence and say nothing.
For the teacher, in his eyes I was trouble and was asking for it. Even when I asked for support or mentioned a topic I didn’t know, he would say if I paid more attention in class, I would be able to get better grades. To be honest, I just could have tried harder if I wanted to. How could I when I ask for help and be told I was responsible and he basically won’t help me? I just carried on struggling and my new Spanish friend would help me sometimes.
All I knew, I missed my friends at Marcelly. I wondered why my mum would change me to come to this school? I didn’t connect with all my classmates. I was a loser and an outsider, even my Spanish friend intergrated better than me. She would often uplift me with words of encouragements on how to improve my grades and I did try at last. Unfortunately, the bad periods kept on coming thick and fast.