Since I did not grow up with social media, Facebook, twitter and such, it took me a while to become involved with the sites. Yet now I feel a bit connected with people I rarely see. Through friends on facebook there are periodically comments by others I know from years past yet have no desire to have among my friends. They must feel the same about me since there have been no friend invitations.
Among those is a teacher I had in high school. I don’t even recall what subject he taught. Although what I do recall is his way of belittling me at the impressionable age of 16. I was sent away to live with my sister because she needed help with her children. Only two mind you but still she convinced my Mother that she needed me to live with her for the help. So I was sent with a group of people traveling that way. My bags packed with what little I had. My heart breaking because I was leaving my friends behind. Leaving the position of cheerleader for my school a coveted elected position. It was not my choice yet this teacher when I returned told me time and time again in front of the class that I had let my classmates down. That I had not fulfilled my obligation to my elected position as cheerleader.
He had no way of knowing what had happen nor did he seem to care or ask. He simply chose to make me feel less then worthy of being at the school. Of having friends. It affected me profoundly. Probably more then perhaps it should have yet teachers have impact on students. It took years and well into my adulthood before I was finally able to set the matter somewhat aside.
Then his name appears on Facebook. Commenting on postings and mostly with that same judgmental mindset he used on me many years ago. A comment by me on a posting brings a condescending response. It burns me. It angers me. And I know that I no longer have to take his abuse. His belittlement. I know that he had no right to be so pious and judge me when I was but a teenager for something I could not control. I know that I have become a good person and although had some tough times because of lack of confidence, I know that I will not allow anyone to rattle me as that teacher did so many years ago. I stand tall in my response to him even garnering a reply by someone that I need to watch out because he will send me to the principal’s office. Well right. Like I am still afraid of this judgmental twerp.
It is doubtful I learned much in his class which is further an injustice. Yet in the scheme of things I learned a lot from many other good teachers. Teachers who were there to bring knowledge to us. Who truly cared that we had a foundation for a future life. There were many and as it goes with bad apples, you simply toss them aside. Which is what anyone should do with someone who belittles them.
Hopefully the teachers today have sensitivity training because what a teacher does and says, has impact for a long time. Yet like any scars, years will wipe it away. As the years advance we see through the dynamics of the insults whether there were reasons or not. We reach into our selves and know who we are whether anyone else cares to hear or not. We know and we are able to walk on remembering the good teachers and letting go the impact of one bad apple even if he shows up on our facebook page. We can wish him health, peace and perhaps by now he is a different person albeit doubtful from his postings. Yet still as I wrote, he can’t touch me now.
And so it is that social media serves a good purpose. It brings people back together. It reminds us sometimes of just how far we have come. How much we have accomplished. It broadens our world to other horizons. It offers new eyes to see through those of others. It helps us travel when we at the moment can not. It is indeed a gift of the time and one I feel is of great value to everyone. Including the crotchety old teacher.