Tag Archives: school days

Bullying’s effects from an adult survivor

I was bullied on and off from kindergarten to Year 12.

I sort of survived but had depression and anxiety all through high school. It affected my marks, my ability to study, and my ability to retain information. Leaving high school and secondary college was the best time of my life. I stuck out. Smart alecs and intelligent kids are not welcome at school. My teachers didn’t care. My parents simply told me to ignore them. That was one of the most useless bits of advice I’ve ever received.

To this day I remember the names and faces of most of my tormentors. It has overshadowed my memories of nice times at school, though I undoubtedly had some enjoyable days and I did have a few friends.

One thing that I got from the experience was the ability to make alliances with other bullied and discriminated people, and my friendship circle, continued after secondary college, was the richer for it. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend this as a way to learn.

It has made me more aware and observant of children’s actions and words in the playground and in the classroom. As a teacher, I was alert to comments that were precursors to bullying actions. Whether my words and actions ever helped anyone, I don’t know. Sometimes all I could offer was safety during lunchtimes, so the vulnerable would be near me while I was on playground duty.

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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in School


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Nativity Play Madness

Yes, I mean it. I am speaking from experience when in kindergarten, being relegated to umpteenth shepherd on the left, wearing an ugly costume made from an old, discarded stripy flannelette sheet, and stumbling towards a cardboard stable that wouldn’t meet council approval.

Please, please tell me that this article is a hoax. Manger chic, for crying out loud.

The rise in so-called “manger chic” has seen parents spend up to 150 pounds ($250) on arctic fur throws for children cast as sheep and ivory bridesmaid dresses for angels, according to department stores group Debenhams.

Is it a competition to have the cutest shepherds or gaudiest angels? Is this trend exacerbated by having more parents taping and photographing children’s school nativity plays? What’s next? Extra make-up for Mary and a West End-quality false beard from Angel’s for Joseph? Excuse me. My eyes are rolling a little quickly at this point. 🙂

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Posted by on December 4, 2009 in Odd stuff, the mummy race


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Um, when do they qualify as gifted?

A gifted child or adult is a rarity. Think about being at least a standard deviation from the norm, maybe two SDs (which would make about 2% of the population).

I noticed there was a link again to the poll started in January 2007 about parents’ perception of their children at BabyCentre here.

Definite trend of overestimation continues – the first commenter laughs about 81% considering their child to be gifted. Today it is 73% who think their child is gifted, 9% say no and 18% are undecided (I’m in the undecided category).

No, my amusement at this poll is not caused by sour grapes. I’ve had my IQ measured and I was a member of Mensa, and as a child I was in a gifted and talented program that was next to useless. So glad that many children have much better opportunities nowadays. Still not enough available.

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Posted by on November 27, 2009 in Child Development, the mummy race


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Gifted child

It used to be that every mother thought her baby was beautiful and that was it. Now, (nearly) every mother seems to think her preschooler is gifted. I’m not kidding. Have a look at this BabyCenter poll on gifted children. A grand total of 74% of respondents believe their child is gifted.

As a former teacher, I can say that maybe 1% or 2% of a school population may be gifted. Not 74%.

Now, the sample in the BabyCenter poll may be highly skewed. Perhaps those who are very proud of their child’s giftedness are ready to proclaim it to the world and those who think their kid is average simply don’t feel like admitting to it. Or … maybe the parents’ expectations are not rooted in reality.

This is not a case of sour grapes here. In whatever way my daughter turns out, that’s how she’s meant to be. I will give her opportunities, lots of love, and heaps of support but I’m not going to push her. I want her to find happiness and become a decent person. That’s it.

I was a gifted child. My intelligence and creativity showed from a very early age (probably to the eternal annoyance of my younger siblings who were then contrasted with me). I was fantastic at school work, learned music and foreign languages quickly, had excellent results over a range of subjects, and more.

What parents don’t count on are the drawbacks. I was bored witless for a large amount of my school career. I wish that I’d been sent up a grade for the mental stimulation. Oh God, the immense, day-crushing boredom of repetitive, simplistic schoolwork.

And there’s the bullying. Maybe some gifted children are also blessed with resilience, social toughness and more. But I wasn’t. I was persecuted in every grade. It didn’t make me a better or tougher person. I developed depression and wanted to leave school. I haven’t been in touch with any of my fellow pupils for two decades. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a single way in which bullying made me a better person. Damaged would be the correct term.

So I am ambivalent about how giftedness is viewed. I joined Mensa when I was in my 20s but I didn’t stay long. The dues were expensive for someone on a low salary like myself and I wasn’t getting what I had hoped for.

I’d like to say that giftedness leads to marvellous opportunities and a life paved with gold, but it doesn’t. It can lead to envy from others, boredom, tedium, aimlessness, and frustration. Only a very few of the gifted population actually receive the stimulus and support that can help them to achieve the things they want.


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Ms Clutter, that’s me!

My decluttering project is going ahead very very slowly. Yesterday there was a unexpected boost. Instead of having a nap (what’s better than a nap on a hot Saturday afternoon? No, don’t answer that!), I tackled two boxes near the bookcase and three boxes in my study.

The two near the bookcase were full of uni notes from my psychology and statistics days. I looked at the stats and nearly passed out at the idea of tackling those things again. How on earth did I ever pass third-year advanced research methodology? I must have been some sort of Superwoman. I found a number of DH’s papers and brochures, old candy (???), hotel supplies that someone had swiped (do we need more tiny shoehorns, unlatherable soap and cotton balls?), stuff for the fax machine and more.

In my study I consolidated the contents of two small boxes, threw out several bags of paper for recycling, smaller pile for shredding, found some pretty card that I’ll send to a friend who likes that style, and then … ah, the treasure! Not my photo album. That is still on my “to find” list. But nearly as good. These were my scrapbooks and my exercise books from primary school.

Obviously Mum tried to keep me occupied during school holidays while she worked. I know I spent a lot of time playing in the backyard, on the swing, reading, etc. She must have set me more work: one of the exercise books is a diary. I would have been nearly six years old when I wrote it. I have to say that my writing was OK but I was never going to be a grand success as an artist.


Posted by on March 11, 2008 in decluttering project, Life Matters


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