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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Elementary Troubles

It was back to school night. I had just moved to the beautiful green state of Oregon and was about to meet my fifth grade teacher. I was busy browsing through the halls, admiring and dissecting all the student artwork covering the walls, comparing my talent to the ones hung on the old brick walls. My parents wandered towards my soon to be teacher’s classroom as I destroyed myself for not being as great as the other students and their work. The ten year old me was scared to say the least. I felt like there was no way I would be able to fit into this new school, I wasn’t good enough. Though I was embarrassed and feeling doubtful in my educational and artistic abilities, my parents forced me to introduce myself to my new teacher, Mr. Bill, my first ever male teacher. I was shocked to have a male teacher, he didn’t even look like a teacher. His body smothered mine as he gave me a warm welcoming hug. I had never felt that embraced by an adult before, let alone, an educated teacher like Mr. Bill himself. Though it was nice, it felt unnatural to me, I felt uncomfortable in that moment. With my cheeks red and my hair covering my eyes, I spoke softly. “Myyyyy my name is Gina, Gina Thompson.” I remember feeling so illiterate. My self conscious dragged me down as if my heart actually sank to the bottom. To make matters worse, my parents hovered over my shoulders and induced his ears to my love for education. Despite my awkward social skills, I felt a sense of pride as I listened to my parents brag about my writing skills. They exclaimed I was born with a hand to write and tell a story. I just remember looking up at my giant teacher and seeing his white grin. This was going to be a different year and I felt like it was going to the best.

After a few weeks passed by, I confronted the old man at recess. I was very bias of course and explained to him how I’ve been doing all this hard work and I get repaid by red ink painted across my assignments. He tilted his head back and laughed at my accusations, just to look back at my never-changing upset expression. He then explained to me that skipping out on other things doesn’t make you great at one thing. He talked nonsense to me about balance and how there’s more I can learn and obtain from the world if I pay attention. I was furious. BALANCE? FAIRNESS? Those were all things I saw that he did not have in mind when grading my assignments. He told me that if I really do love literacy, I need to equal out the other things in my life. I was sent back to recess disappointed. I walked with my head down low and headed towards a wall to destroy some other kids in wall ball to release my frustration.

(names have been changed)

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