I recently read The Five Love Languages of Children. There was a part in there that made me think of my childhood. I even talked about this in one of my social work classes in college. We had to talk about a bad memory from our childhood and it was the only one I could remember. I was blessed with a good childhood.
“Such learning-related anxiety often appears among children who are moving from the third to the fourth grade. This grade step usually involves a change in the content and methods of teaching.” P.151
I had never heard this before. I was like, oh my goodness! This might have been one reason why fourth grade was hard for me. It also could have been because I was homeschooled until second grade and started school in third grade. So in fourth grade public school was still relatively new to me. I remember my main teacher being pretty nice but for one class I would have another teacher and if I’m being honest she kind of scared me. I might have mentioned I was a sensitive kid. Well, I’m still a sensitive person. I’m also a people pleaser so I don’t like letting people down. In fourth grade I tried to be a fairly good student but I failed a test in this particular class. My teacher wrote Did you study? On the test. I cried because I failed the test and also because it hurt my feelings that she thought I didn’t study. Since I was crying my teacher said, “why are you being such a baby?!” I was ten years old! I know that is technically a little old to cry when you fail a test but I would never say that to a kid. It was possible she was just having a bad day or she thought I was a bad student. I may have kind of been a bad student in her class because it seemed to give me anxiety. I had to get a parent signature on the test because I had failed it. My mom signed it and wrote my teacher a note that I study very hard for my tests. My teacher said, “Did you maybe not study as hard for this test?” I think I nodded because I figured that was what she wanted me to do.
When I read this chapter on learning and learning-related anxiety I immediately thought of this. I had thought before, why do I still remember this? Why do I care? Why am I so sensitive? I told Dan about it and when I said my teacher called me a baby he was like “Your teacher said that to you? Some people are in the wrong profession.” And it made me feel like maybe I wasn’t crazy. I was thinking it was around this age that my depression and anxiety started. It definitely got worse when I got older and I’m pretty sure my intrusive thoughts didn’t start until I was older.
I’m not saying my teacher is the cause of my anxiety but I just want to remind people that words have power. It’s been twenty years and I’m sure she forgot what she said to me a long time ago. I’m sure she’s not a bad person although, I do kind of agree with Dan that teaching was not the right profession for her. Although, a lot of her students loved her so maybe our personalities just clashed. However, when I was reading about learning-related anxiety in this book I realized it was okay to be sad I failed my test. Everyone fails sometimes. Failing does not make you a failure. And I guess I’m pretty blessed if that is the worst memory I can think of from my childhood.