There was another girl in my class who was an excellent student. In fact, she and I were pretty much tied for who was the top student in our second grade class. I didn't think much about it, but just kept on studying my little heart out and working hard to do the best I could. I wanted to be good at something, and schoolwork seemed to be the thing.
Our teacher had a practice that whenever we did written papers or quizzes in class, we would trade papers with the person behind us or beside us for grading. That girl sat behind me, and one day got my grammar and spelling paper for grading. Once they were all graded, they were handed in for the Nun to record our grades. And that is when it happened.....
The teacher - - the same teacher who had ridiculed the way I talked, mind you - - suddenly started telling the class about the horrible paper she had in her hands; it was my paper! She stated that everything was spelled wrong, and the grammar was terrible! She then started reading all the mistakes on the paper, and just tearing it - - and me - - totally apart.
I was in total shock. Everything she read - - every spelling error, every grammar mistake - - was NOT what I had written down! I was completely confused and embarrassed, and just sat there in tears while many of my classmates giggled at the whole situation. I tried to defend myself by saying those were not the answers I had put down, but she just got angrier at me and told me the proof was right there in her hands, and I should stop lying about it.
Right after that, we were dismissed for recess, but I was too upset to go out an play. I sat in the coat room and just hid out from everybody. I was just so confused - - I did not know what had happened, or what to think.
After recess, the teacher told the class that during the time we were gone she had taken a closer look at my paper, and had noticed something strange. She then had gotten the other girl and showed her what she had seen - - erasures on the paper. She told the class the other girl had admitted to erasing my answers and putting in wrong ones. Apparently she did this because she didn't want me getting a better grade than her.
The teacher asked both of us to come up to the front of the room, and made her apologize to me, which she did, and I said okay. But did I ever forget it? No way! And it made me even less want to be around anybody.
You may not think this qualifies as a case of bullying, but I say it is. This teacher seemed to take great pleasure in tearing into me, and I did nothing to deserve it. When you are small and feel helpless, and someone of authority is doing you wrong - - and you have no way of defending yourself - - yes, that definitely is bullying.
This situation made me realize at that very young age that I could not let my guard down and trust anyone. Other situations as I grew up and became an adult fortified that early lesson. And to this day, all these years later, those trust issues remain strong.
To be continued...