APD Part IV––Horrendous Miss J

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What do you do when your teacher wants to be popular with her students to the degree that she persecutes you? Just because she saw them do it. In my case, my parents had to get involved. Teachers should never side with a group of students to bully or persecute another student. Click to Tweet #amwriting #rejection #APD

From Wikipedia: “People with avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked.”

I was already feeling this way some of the time, but junior high was a nightmare for me. I have a few good memories, of being in the “A” Band, of finding a new friend from another elementary school, to being in a play in ninth grade.

Seventh grade was horrific. Girls took Home Economics, Home Ec for short. Guys took Shop. My seventh grade (and eighth grade) Home Ec teacher, Miss J, relentlessly persecuted me to the point where my parents had to get involved.

Miss J was a plain, unattractive woman, who wanted to be popular with the “in crowd” students. It didn’t take her long, maybe a couple weeks to one month, before she realized who was in the popular crowd, and who wasn’t. She’d see how girls treated one another.

When she noticed that I was one of the un-popular students, she set about making my life in Home Ec class unbearable. Here’s how she did it.

from Flickr

from Flickr

We were supposed to take maybe a month or two to learn to sew by making a sleeveless boatneck blouse. Two-piece, front and back. Two darts, side seams, and quarter-inch hems around the neck, the armholes, and the blouse bottom. She figured we should have it done probably by mid-October, early November at the latest, I think. I don’t really remember.

All I do remember is that if I didn’t have every stitch perfect in a row, she made me rip it out and do it again. I can’t tell you how many times I ripped out darts and seams. While others in the class were progressing to their side seams, I was still on my darts. Finally, she let me go on to my side seams. I can’t remember how many times I ripped them out. It’s a wonder I continued sewing my own clothes into high school (where I really enjoyed sewing).

Anyway, we had Home Ec maybe two to three times a week. The other days, I had Band. I can’t remember exactly how my parents got involved, but I think it was because my mother finally believed me when I said that I wasn’t being allowed to progress beyond the darts, when others were practically finished with blouses, going on to a simple skirt (which I’m not sure I ever got to that semester.) Probably my grade would have reflected that, too.

All I remember is that my dad, who was a traveling salesman, and mom got an appointment with the school principal. I guess the principal confronted Miss J. I have a memory of being in that class and my parents coming to the door of the classroom after their meeting with the principal.

Things changed after that. While I never became a “favorite,” at least I wasn’t being bullied and persecuted anymore. Miss J was forced to clamp down on others in the class who were also involved in her bullying. I remember watching their faces when she started doing that. They were truly surprised, but in order for them to remain her favorites, they had to go along with her. I was almost treated nice. Wow.

Bullying in my day was thought of as mainly physical. I guess what we would call emotional bullying now would have been thought of as a strong tease, or just being mean.

I survived seventh grade, in spite of Miss J.

If you know of anyone who needs encouragement because of rejection issues, get involved. Give them affection, friendship, love, and understanding. Click to Tweet #amwriting #rejection #APD

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