More Than What You See: First Grade

My first grade teacher.
She was a short woman
with short hair.
She wore a flowery shirt and
navy blue jeans to cover her oddly square butt,
each cheek a perfect shape
to fit the classroom chairs.

I hated her.

One day we all sat on the floor
her square butt on a square chair
passing a book to read
as I dreaded my turn
for everyone else
could read with ease
which was my fantasy.
I read with such difficulty,
stalling and stammering
on the simplest of words.
Such as “the” “what” and “with”.
I tried to ignore the annoyance
from my peers, stiffening the air.
The shame and humiliation building
causing my hands to shake.
Elongated “okaaay” from the teacher,
my signal to pass it to the next.
Made me feel so foolish.

I hated her.

When she tested me with a timer
tapping her finger
over the word
“the” I couldn’t remember
what the “T-H” sounded like.
Tears began to fall
as the panic of being
stupid and wrong
began to settle in.

She yelled while tapping
“I know you know this, Silvaan!
I know you do!”

Made my mind freeze.
I don’t think I ever
remembered the word.
as the timer kept ticking,
distracting me.
Mostly I can remember
how much I

hated her.

Then she came to my house in summer
with work for me to do.

My mother met her outside.
She handed my mother homework for me
so I could be ready for second grade.
asking, “Where is Silvaan?”

My mother said plainly.
“She doesn’t want to see you.”

She looked shocked having no idea
that not only did I hate her…
I was afraid of her.



3 thoughts on “More Than What You See: First Grade

  1. Sorry, I can’t ‘like’ this, because, well, I don’t like a teacher comparing students.

    But I like the writing. Seems you got beyond your teachers inadequacies, me thinks😉


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