Last week I read one of my old school reports, my mum isn’t the type of person to keep sentimental stuff but will keep a school report. So I decided to read and something you wrote in there came back to hit me like a big red bus. You were my year 7 English teacher a subject I always loved growing up, the subject always fascinated me and I used to get lost in writing stories.
This was until I read my school report that year, in year 4 there was another incident like this but it didn’t hit me as hard as what your words said. You see in year 4 I wrote a story for another teacher who deemed it a sentence too long for a short story so put a big red cross through it and made me write it again. What you did though had a bigger effect on me than that and let me explain why. I wrote a story for your lesson I had a broken hand so I had to type it, it was a story about some characters I had made up on some adventure. I can’t really remember the ins and outs of the whole story. When it came to my school report you wrote that i’m good at English, I could do with working on my punctuation (I’m 23 and still not brilliant at it) but it wasn’t that you had the problem with. You had a problem with my imagination you thought my stories weren’t mature enough for my age, the characters were too out of the box and you felt I should of been writing more about real life issues than things I had made up. Your opinion which you are entitled to.
However my whole problem with it was that you stopped my spark and made me feel I wasn’t able to use my imagination, I spent a lot of time with my cousin growing up and as her older cousin I used to make up ridiculous stories to help her sleep, one was about a character called Bobalina Toothpaste, a fairy princess who had to fight the evil tooth fairy king to be able to give money to all the small children who lose their teeth. She loved this story I even made it into a small book for her. However after that report those stories stopped, my love for English ended and in some part most of my imagination died. My focus turned into real world issues.
It’s only been in the last year or so I’ve rediscovered my love for writing again, I used to half arse all my essays in secondary school and college because I was worried that it would end up with a big red cross or a comment saying my imagination is to vivid, It was always straight to the point, Probably why I didn’t get a very good grade for GCSE.
As a teacher isn’t your role to push kids to be their best self and not bring them down for things that are quite trivial? That’s what I thought being a teacher was about I know it probably seems like a petty comment but sometimes the smallest comments can cause the most harm. Since becoming a mother I’ve watched my daughter play, use her imagination and just become lost in her self and it’s really the most wonderful thing in the world. Since reading that report I’ve worried if I should limit her imagination in case she has a teacher like you in school who might write a report like you wrote me and dull her sparkle and the answer is no. My parents made the mistake of not telling me to ignore your comment, because that’s what I should of done because imaginations are fucking wonderful. Some of the best ideas have come from someones mind, Roald Dahl for example imagine if someone tried to stop him we wouldn’t have all of the wonderful pieces of literature we have now.
My whole plan for this letter was to get it off my chest and leave it behind me, as of now I’m not going to stop my imagination in its tracks and I’m going to tell my daughter to never let any one tell her what she thinks isn’t right for her age. I’m going to allow her to enjoy her childhood and scream at anyone who tells her to stop.
You made me grow up pretty quickly. What ever happened to letting children be children?
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