I Was In 1st Grade and Will Never Forget It!

The teacher was at the front of the class and she was asking us what time we went to bed, as the lesson was on telling time. She looked at me and asked the question. I had no concept of time at that age. It is probably worth noting at this point in the story that I was being raised by a single mother at the time, genetic father had left, younger sister was still at home, and it was expected that schools taught these things to kids – not parents. There were no lessons at home about reading or telling time.

Anyway, I replied that I didn’t know what time I went to bed, and cringed because all the classroom eyes were on me (never liked the spot light). She advised that I should have some idea; again I said I did not know. She went on, pushing for an answer, and I was clueless as to what to use for a response. She then told me to just take a guess, so I did, and said 5:30. She retorted with a huff “You don’t go to bed at 5:30! Come up here”. So I did, feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and stupid. I can’t remember her exact words after that because I mentally shut down, but she had me sit on a tall stool at the front of the room, facing the class, and placed the long yellow dunce cap on my head.  It was awful!   I am much older now, and as I think back on that experience I appreciate that the teacher was just a bitter woman with a mean streak. The effect it had on me as a youth was it caused me to shrink back, trying to be invisible so that no one would ask me any questions, so that no one would notice me. 

I am happy to say that this experience has not had a lasting effect on my life except to say that I am very sensitive to people who hesitate to participate in conversations or activities…, I will always reach my hand out to them in an effort to make clear that they should not be afraid. Maybe that’s why the majority of my friends have always been underdogs.

prairiezephyr prairiezephyr
46-50, F
2 Responses Feb 14, 2009

My mother had one - wore it in the corner on many occasions.

I had to wear one on three different occasions!