Park Lodge 79 Hackney Road Hackney, Adeleide, South Australia, Australia 5069

I am writing to give you a glimpse at something you no doubt have either personal or peripheral knowledge of. Unrequited school/life experience.

What do I want you to do with this information? Share the story so those who haven’t yet found their way can get a glimmer of hope!

There is plenty of press and awareness of the sexual predatory behaviour of people who have authority or sway and influence over young people but the subject I am canvassing here gets somewhat lost & can still be very devastating. The subject of being overlooked – led into darkness.

I attended an independent non-catholic school from 1953 – 1963/4 leaving at 15 years of age, the end of 2nd year as I had been proven to be inadequate. I had managed to achieve probably the least impact of any student on the school and it, the school,on a student – me. Even after this unsatisfactory time, I still sent my son there for his schooling, something about honouring the father (my father) sort of thing. He came out with enough to get through university and a quiet appreciation of the school. His intention is not to send his children there.

I entered employment at 15 yrs and that’s when my life changed; the darkness lifted.

Reason for email – bullying and abuse come in all different sorts and sizes of packages. Mine was centred on the universal lack of care, across all classes after about grade 3, for anyone who fell in the middle to bottom of achievers. I left school with a pronounced stammer and negative self-esteem based on the proof given to me by teachers, year after year and the school system through time, that I was either dumb, lazy or in some other way imperfect.

My self-doubt, lack of confidence maybe even self-loathing was further enforced by the PE teacher. His contribution to my esteem and fear of most sports for too long was to castigate me as a little ‘poofter’ for falling to the ground crying at the age of about 7, for catching a cricket ball on the tip of my middle finger. I was not allowed to come to cricket again.

It took me only about six weeks on leaving school to actually make the discovery that I in fact had some value. I enrolled in night school, skipped a grade, went into the equivalent to matriculation and finished in the top five of the year! The organisation I joined was Woolworths. I became the youngest manager ever and to this day, to my knowledge there has been no other younger than I was. My stutter almost disappeared in the first 4 to 6 weeks. It still reoccurs slightly if I am tired or discussing something passionate – which are a lot of topics.

Bullying and abuse come in all sorts of packaging, these were how they came to me. My parents sent me and my brother to the same school, and my sister to an independent girl’s school. They didn’t know to come to the school and get better service for me, they just accepted that I wasn’t very bright.

That contributed to their non-acceptance of me and me of me!

The teachers and lack of leadership at my school in my case were seriously flawed. In the case of a friend’s son, he was falling behind in one of his years, as were any students who attended this particular teacher’s classes. Because I now had some self-esteem, I addressed the master on their behalf, got nowhere, spoke with the head of the middle school, and got nowhere. spoke to the head of curriculum, but got nowhere. Then I spoke to the headmaster, almost got nowhere until I explained that I would bring the parents together of students in that class to underline ‘our’ concerns. A 2nd teacher was placed in the class to observe and it was suddenly (after five years) recognised he didn’t really know how to teach.

Through effective mentoring, he found the areas he was missing and that year was the most successful he had ever had. It was always there for him if anyone had bothered to do their job. If other parents had spoken up and insisted on being heard. If the school took care, were aware of those falling behind and not categorising them, judging them, dismissing them. Yes, this happened to me 54 years+ ago. My son’s incident (numerous in the public system before we moved him to my old school) was 40 years or so ago, still a long time but, I still find myself counselling friends and clients when the subject or children progress (or even behaviour) at school comes up. Inevitably when they make clear to the school what they see, something changes. Too often it seems to get past the teachers, and the system.

People live up to or down to expectations and that is self-fulfilling.

Why am I telling you this – there have been numerous stories about numerous schools re sexual exploitation and bullying, but bullying is usually seen as physical or psychological between students, yes also parents and yes teachers and any mix of that you can consider. I was bullied through inaction; through people responsible for my life’s learning, much more than RRR, lives learning of my self-worth, they failed me. Good people are caught up in their own exhaustion and subjective judgements. Yes, some who should never have been invited into teaching and others who should have been exited after appropriate mentoring had not been successful.

It will be happening between staff, parents to staff, children to children, staff to children, academic and administrative / grounds. It will be happening and if you really believe it is not, then you will be missing a giant opportunity and, failing the children and others who are being caught up in it. (That is a sentence from the original email to ‘my school’)

I went to four independent schools with this story and they all categorically stated, ‘children are not missed today! I wrote my book, Develop Through Leadership Thinking for the reason of reaching out to anyone, at any stage of life who are living down to what others see as their judgment; to inspire people to look into themselves and find hope. The fact is, many people are worn down by the negative experience and have no expectation that they6 can be something else.

I had become addicted to failure at school, my teachers and parents alike.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x