Letter to an old teacher

I read something the other day about writing a letter to a previous teacher. I thought about writing one to the IT teacher who said I was the most stupid girl he’d ever met all because I didn’t instantly understand binary….realised he wasn’t worth thinking about. I thought about writing one to the form tutor I had for 4 years, but I don’t really have anything to say about that time of my life. I decided on my year 4/6 teacher, I probably wouldn’t recognise her if I saw her now, she might have changed her name or not teach anymore at all, I wouldn’t know.
Dear Miss Long,

You were my teacher when I was in year 4 and year 6, and quite possibly my favourite teacher. When I was in year 4 for some reason I found it difficult to build and maintain friendships. I had friends, but I wasn’t outgoing, I was incredibly shy and would rather spend my time on my own. Pretty much every lunchtime was spent in your classroom helping you to make displays or cutting things out for your next lesson.

You never said anything to my face about it, but you were obviously concerned. Mum would ask me every so often if everything was ok at school because you’d called her to say I’d spent yet another lunchtime sat at my desk with you. I was fine, I just didn’t like running about the playground like a headless chicken! We’d sit and talk about films, what was happening at school, in my life, everything.  

One day that stands out pretty vividly was you doing a display on Ancient Egypt. At the time I was fascinated by Egypt, pyramids and mummies, so I sat for HOURS drawing hieroglyphs by hand for the frame of the display. No stamps, just a little girl with a black pen and sheer determination.

In year 6 I’d gotten that little bit more comfortable and confident, I rarely stayed in over lunchtimes but I knew the option was there if I needed it. Then, the bullying got a bit worse. It’d been going along in the background for a while but nowadays I’d find my things chucked in the bin, my bags stuffed into lockers and cupboards that I couldn’t reach, homework scribbled over. Little things looking back but at the time it really knocked me. All done by the same person but no physical proof….until one day when I was walking home on my own and that person came up behind me and hit my back so hard I still had a screaming red handprint by the time I’d walked home. Mum took me straight back to the school, luckily you and the school nurse were still there, ice packs and wet paper towels – obviously the cure for everything – were put on my back while everything was noted down. I don’t know what happened after that, but I got an apology and that person was moved class. Then when it was time to join year 7 it was acknowledged that we wouldn’t be anywhere near each other and they were in none of my classes….I relaxed a lot more and got on with things.

I’d love for you to see me now – the confident 22 year old, planning her wedding and getting on with life, taking crap from nobody. I wouldn’t recognise myself, and looking back at the little girl that I was I just want to give her a hug and say it’ll be ok. Yes there were some bumps in the road but I got there, thank you for everything you did helping me along the way.



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