*Name changed to protect the bitchy.
Dear Miss Simpson,
I don’t know what it was about you, or why I felt you had it in for me. But you did. You were one of my favourite teachers throughout school, fun and interesting and one we could be ourselves around. Come Sixth Form, you’d been promoted (?) and were all of a sudden a ‘force to be reckoned with’. Why? What changed? Did you feel like you had to ‘play a part’?
Remember when you called a meeting with my mother to try to convince me to drop my fourth A Level and carry on with three, as you didn’t feel ‘it was the best direction’ for me? Remember how I cried and you sat there smugly?
Remember when you came into the common room at lunchtime and screamed at me in front of all of my peers because I was wearing ‘skinny trousers’? I was constantly called out and made to feel embarrassed, although looking around the room you could have pointed out another five or ten people who weren’t in the uniform that was up to your ‘standard’. Ugg boots, hoodies, trainers everywhere – but my black business trousers had to go, didn’t they?
Remember when I got my A Level results, and you’d drawn a big star on the front of my envelope? You took me away from all my peers who were celebrating their results and made me open my envelope in a room ‘in case I hadn’t got the results I wanted’. Well, I did. I got into my first choice university, onto the degree I wanted. I wish I could have taken a picture of your face when I came out of that office beaming. Your mask slipped and in that moment I realised you actually had wanted me to fail. You made it so obvious. I went back to my friends and celebrated, just the way I was supposed to.
Speaking with peers who knew how I felt at that time, I realised you affected more people than just me. That’s awful. You could have been awesome and supportive and helpful, but you turned into this angry, stomping tornado who felt the need to bring people up to your ‘standard’ – which you tried to tell us was what we had to get used to if we were to go and work in a normal ‘business environment’. You were SO wrong. I was terrified to start my first real job in case I encountered people like you. Not once have I – and I believe someone behaving the way you behaved wouldn’t have lasted long either.
Have you ever heard that saying: ‘a boss inspires fear, a leader generates enthusiam’? No? Probably best you look it up.
I think you felt very important in your role and perhaps because of this, very under pressure. Maybe you were exerting your ‘power’ because you yourself were feeling nervous that you couldn’t live up to what was expected of you. The part you played has affected me for years. You made me feel like what I wore or said or did wasn’t good enough, something I struggle with to this day, comparing myself to other people and worrying about what others think.
However, you also affected me in a good way. You made me feel so crap about myself that I was determined not to fail and to be the very best I could, if anything, just to prove you wrong. I’m sitting here in my own flat, with my own money and my own bloody awesome job. Making a massive headway up the career and property ladder – MY way. The way everyone should do things – something you must have forgotten along the way.
I hope you found your peace and never made anyone feel the way you made me feel again. And yeah, I’m still wearing skinny trousers.