Growing Up Being Bullied
As a child I was bullied, not just a little bit but a lot. I don’t really know how it all began but one incident in particular triggered it off. I had drawn the most amazing piece of art work which the teacher put on the wall. I’d also made a mistake and spelt my name wrong. I wrote Anglea instead of Angela. My teacher pointed this out in front of the whole class and mocked me. I felt humiliated, the children laughed and some of the kids never let me live this down.
I remember being teased over and over. I was made to feel useless, rubbish and bad. I’m glad my daughter’s teachers are not like this in today’s world. I think standards must have improved over the years but the Teacher I had in my first year of Junior school really took pleasure in bringing me down and making me feel rubbish about myself. It really destroyed my self esteem and confidence.
The bullying I suffered started off as verbal abuse but soon moved on to threats and physical abuse. I was stabbed with pencils, punched, shoved and kicked. Each school year things worsened. In year 3 a huge chunk of hair was ripped out my head. I was sure I now had the evidence to show I was being hurt, yet the Headteacher simply said I must have been asking for it. The teachers at Dodworth Junior School really harnessed the culture of bullying. They enabled this and made young children including myself feel worthless and to blame. As if being bullied was my fault and something was wrong with me.
When I moved up to high school, I had a new target on my back. Those who moved up with me let everyone know I was the loser from the Junior school and the bullying soon continued. It wasn’t just me, there were certain children who like me were treated the same. High school got incredibly worse. At age 12 I was miserable. I was too scared to go on the school bus and would walk some distance to school to avoid being threatened and hurt.
My high school was pretty notorious. In a rough and tough school I had little chance. My Mother desperately asked for help and we had a meeting where she was told I must have social issues and be the one at fault. Not long after my friend Paula was sprayed with deodorant (on the bus) and set on fire. My friend John was also thrown out of the emergency exit at the back of the bus. I was terrified. What would they do to me?
My parents announced we were migrating to New Zealand. My mum was born in NZ and we were going to start a new life. This could not come at a better time. We moved when I was 13 years old. I started a new school, Lynfield College in Auckland, New Zealand. My life changed. Lynfield was a much more financially well off area and many of my friends lived in fancy houses, some were like mansions with pools and jacuzzi’s. It was so different to the poor coal mining town of Barnsley where I had lived previously.
I still struggled to fit in with the “girls” who had formed friendships in previous years but I found my place and made friends -mainly boys but we got along and I discovered by moving areas that it was not me who was asking for trouble. It was not me who had a sign on my head saying please bully me, it was the culture and environment I lived in and the attitude of the teachers who simply turned a blind eye and did not care.
At 14 I learnt that I was not the “problem child” the teacher’s had labelled me as. I was normal, I just needed the opportunity to be around people who saw me for me rather than seeing me as the child everyone bullied. I stayed on at Lynfield and completed year 6 and 7. I came top in all my subjects and won awards for being an A Grade Student. It didn’t come easy. I had to work hard and I studied all the time to get my University Entrance.
My first year at University was spent in Law School. I was training to become a lawyer. I had a strong sense of Justice, of right and wrong and I wanted to do my part. However in my second year, I made a change. I went on to complete my Degree in English and Education. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in teaching and ended up working as a teacher of younger children.
Bullying is wrong and so often when it does happen, the victim is made to feel powerless, to feel at fault, that there must be something wrong with them. I see the lives now of those bullied when I was younger. I wonder how different things might have been had these children had the chance to know their worth, to see they were so much more than “trouble causers” as our teacher’s labelled us.
Bullying is wrong and sometimes from time to time I come across someone who bullied me. They send a friendly message and say Hi, do you remember me and I think Yes! I remember you and the terrible things you did. It’s like all is forgotten and forgiven! I may forgive but I will never forget my experiences. They are battle scars which are etched in my mind forever.
All I can hope for is a better future for my own child. That she will never be treated the way I was. Sadly from time to time my daughter is bullied due to her mixed heritage, but she has amazing teachers who put a stop to it immediately and I teach my child no matter what anyone says or does, she is of worth, she is precious and valued and I hope that these teachings will help build her and fortify her for the years to come.
Were you bullied in school? I’d love to here your comments?