This is more of a past thing but I feel it is still relevant to me and that is why I decided to write about it. I didn’t have that many good experiences with teachers. You know the school bullies who make school life miserable? For me those were my teachers.
I suffer from dyslexia so it can be hard for me to learn certain things and I take longer than most as well; over the years I have learnt to work around it, I don’t have as much of a problem reading and writing as I did when I was younger. But man, those years as a child were rough, not because of disability but because of the teachers that didn’t believe in it. You see I grew up and studied in India and most people (teachers especially) don’t believe in learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADHD or other stuff like that. In their minds if the child isn’t learning as fast as the others it is because they have chosen not to because they are lazy, in other words we the children with the learning disability are doing it on purpose. And in India the best way to get rid of laziness and motivate a child to study is to punish them when they don’t do well. Unsurprisingly I was picked out a lot so that the teachers could show the class what happened to students who didn’t do their work well, my only saving grace was that there were others who were punished with me every now and then. This stigma of students being lazy when they don’t do well and that learning disorders don’t exist is prevalent all over India. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan even made a movie on the subject, it was called, “Taare Zameen Par” which roughly translates to ‘stars on the ground.’
If you haven’t watched the movie, suffice it to say that I can relate to the child in the movie.
Now I am not saying that all my teachers were bad, some of them were nice to me and actually tried to help me out. Unfortunately they were the minority and even they didn’t know what my problem was (they had never heard of dyslexia and they didn’t want to learn more about it). And it wasn’t just teachers, a lot of parents who had dyslexic children didn’t know why their children wouldn’t do well in school, the main problem was that even if they looked for help the people they turned to for help were the teachers, the same teachers who had the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ type of mentality. I have a friend who we later found out was dyslexic, and the amount of trouble he went through with his teachers and his parents is just plain depressing.
I sometimes feel like the teachers who liked to punish me were a tiny bit sadistic and that they enjoyed the power they had over us kids. The amount of homework they would give, the endless tests we needed to study for, the punishments they would dish out if we did not do well. Leisure time? Who has time for that? I also feel that they are somewhat responsible for the other psychological problems that I have developed over the years. They are not solely responsible but they most definitely contributed to it.
Now as I said, there were good teachers and there were bad teachers. I think fondly of the good teachers who actually gave a damn and I try not to think of the bad teachers. But they were a part of my experience and they thought me one thing in hindsight: despite what they want you think teachers don’t have all the answers and any teacher who is not willing to learn anymore does not deserve to be called a teacher.