Lack Of Empathy Trumps Anxiety… Or Reality

, , , , , , | Learning | August 4, 2020

We all have that one teacher: the teacher that is completely horrible, has no empathy for your situation, and just does everything to make your life a living Hell. I had one of those. 

She was the type of teacher who would assign a lot of homework every day. It didn’t matter if it was the first day of school or the day before leaving for Thanksgiving break, Christmas vacation, or Easter vacation. Not only that, but we all also had huge projects to do every month. Papier-mâché a planet, create a dragon for Chinese new year, even a complete project of one of the fifty states. She also made plays that we would have to perform on top of that.

The worst part was that she would assign the homework and then teach us about it the next day, so we had to figure it out before we were actually taught it.

I was a special needs student, so I was only supposed to have a set amount of homework every night. She still expected me to do all of it, no ifs, ands, or buts. If I didn’t, I would still have to do it the next day for one letter grade less. My parents complained; she didn’t care. Cue anxiety attacks.

The last straw came in the second week of June. We were cleaning out our desks one Friday when she announced that she had tonight’s homework: two sheets of English, a sheet of math, and a sheet of science.

That’s right; she assigned homework on the last day of school. And once again, it was stuff we hadn’t even learned yet. Also, we had already turned in our textbooks the previous day so we were up a creek without a paddle.

Here’s another thing. We were at an American elementary school on a US Air Force Base in England. Half the class had a parent who was getting transferred either to another duty station internationally or back in the United States. They couldn’t turn the work in because they weren’t going to be there. She said we couldn’t mail it; we had to physically hand it in.

When we students mentioned to her that there was no real way for them to hand the work to her, she said, “I don’t care. Turn it in on the first day of fifth grade, or I’m not passing you. You’ll repeat the fourth grade again.“ Our pleas fell on deaf ears. 

Since it was a half-day on the last day of school, I mentioned this to my mom and she and I bolted back to the school to complain to the principal. It turned out that no less than ten other parents were already there, including my best friend’s mom and my crush’s dad. 

My mum had the loudest voice there, saying that I have had high anxiety the entire year because of the amount of work she forced on me even though I wasn’t supposed to have it. I had never seen her so pissed off at anyone that wasn’t either me or my two older brothers. 

We had just gotten home when we received a phone call from the principal. He told us that we didn’t have to do the homework and that the teacher would be dealt with accordingly. Hearing that, I was so relieved that I didn’t have to do any summer homework.

When I showed up the first day of fifth grade, the principal came up to me and told me that our teacher was removed. He apologized for the amount of stress I had the previous school year, and he made sure that I had one of the more popular fifth-grade teachers who knew how I was. 

My fifth-grade year went a h*** of a lot better than my fourth-grade one.

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