In my first year of junior school, my teacher would get us to write about what we did on the weekend and that was it, I was off! I’d write pages and pages, so much so, the teacher would have to tell me to stop writing. I couldn’t get it out fast enough, I had so much to say.
It was 1988, a good few months into the school year and I had written yet another fabulous story. I hurried up to Miss Pascal’s desk, eagerly presenting my work in an outstretched arm. Do you remember, even when, a teacher was sitting down you were still shorter than them? I was in love with this curly-haired plump attractive woman, in my own innocent way. In retrospect, I craved her approval, “gimme that smile.” She had a laugh that shook her whole body. That first day, when we were all sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of her, our little chins in our hands. I looked up and saw an angel.
I WAS WRONG
One particular afternoon she was preoccupied with a pile of paper. I placed the story in front of her, pigeon chested, expectant. What did I expect? I think, to see amusement spread over her face. Then, maybe, for her to throw back her pretty head and laugh, “Lizzie, it’s brilliant! What an exciting life you lead!” Because, I really did.
Instead, without looking up, she put my jotter book on top of the messy pile she was working on. Then, with the speed and dexterity of a banjo player, she put her scratchy red pen to work on my precious art. She circled grammatical errors, crossed out words, underlined mistakes. Until my beautiful story, my witty account of my exciting escapades looked more like a butcher’s chopping board. It was shocking. Had she always been this cold? It started to dawn on me what kind of a person she really was, heartless.
She didn’t smile at me, in fact, showed no interest whatsoever! “Write it out again,” she snapped impatiently, as she reached
I can see my younger self, sitting on that little table with 3 other students, all of them hazy and faceless. The young me is sitting with rigid and still with a hard red face and staring at the teacher and then down at my destroyed story. Little Lizzie doesn’t write it out again, she lost her motivation, her high spirits dashed away so easily. She feels invisible, the teacher doesn’t see that she is sitting there doing nothing, refusing to redo it, what’s the point? The little tomboy with messy hair is done with writing stories. Deep down, she already knows she not good enough. She’s been collecting evidence for a while now and here is more. She is 7.
Since when did gramma become more important than my content? Forever, probably. However, that was the point in history where I began my struggle with school. I could never do any written work quite right. It was frustrating and confusing, so many red lines and “do it again”s.
THE TRUTH WILL OUT
Years later, I went back to school as a mature student. The University Of Salford accepted me, without the points required, I guess they needed students. I wrote some film reviews and traveled up to Manchester for a private audition with Mr. Rayburn the head of the Media Department and I was accepted into the program, ‘Comedy Writing and Performance Bachelor of Arts degree.’
My mum suggested that I get tested for dyslexia and so I did. I found out I have a very rare profile, 0.1% of people have my particular ‘strain of dyslexia.’ I am shit hot at fitting shapes into a box, rocket scientist good at that, but when it comes to short term memory, I suck. They gave me a laptop, private tutor, some extra money and a load more bits and bobs. I accepted them all gratefully.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Love you dearly,