I just moved from a relatively big city to a smaller town of 7,000, where I enrolled in high school last fall as a sophomore. Everyone here knows one another because they all grew up together. I have made friends well enough, mostly with other people who weren’t born here. My problem is that I have a teacher who never calls on me but frequently calls on the boys in the class. I don’t think I’m imagining it. I’m not sure if she’s sexist or just doesn’t like me. Either way, it sucks. I don’t really feel like I can talk to her about this. But I also don’t want my class participation points to suffer. What should I do?
I trust your perception. It’s a tricky situation, but now is a good time to learn how to navigate something like this and fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. It is always best to address the problem head on, but when I was a sophomore you could not have paid me a million bucks to ask a teacher why they don’t call on me. I would sooner have run naked down the halls. Well, not really. But you get my point! If you can’t do it yourself, time for reinforcements: grown-ups.
If parent-teacher conferences are coming up, that would be a good time to have a parent/guardian address the issue, with or without you there. Even the most conflict-averse parent tends to grow a pair to advocate for their child. After all, this is good news: you want to participate in class! If things don’t improve, your parent/guardian can email the chair of the department. Hopefully that will help. Don’t let one bad experience get in the way of your love of learning. Maybe you can write a short essay about it and see if your teacher recognizes herself!
I just ran into my daughter’s teacher from junior high. We had a lovely chat, and then I told my daughter, now 27, about the chance encounter, and she said, “Who’s that?” I was floored. Who’s that?! My daughter’s junior high years were filled with land mines, as all junior high years are, and helping her navigate those ups and downs practically took 10 years off my life. And now she doesn’t even remember the name of one of her teachers? I was blown away. What is that all about?!?!?
That is all about the human psyche keeping track of the good and letting go of the bad. I am always shocked by how many people don’t remember high school (or junior high) very well. If it wasn’t a happy time for them, I think they figure, why clutter their head with the bad stuff?
Another possibility, not all people remember as well as others. Plain and simple. DIfferent people, different brains. It’s not preservation, it’s just not something that sticks with them.
As parents, it’s absolutely astonishing how a simple event that may have been traumatic for both you and your kid (a fight, wetting the bed at a sleepover, an anxiety attack, forgetting lines during a play … ) and yet, years later, the kid has zero memory of it, even though you thought it would scar them for life – because it scarred you for life! I think that’s actually healthy, even though my own personal embarrassments sit in the front of my brain like they happened an hour ago. Be grateful that those negative memories didn’t stick around for your daughter. Who needs them?
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I brush my teeth with warm water, I am never late and the smell of tuna fish makes me retch. Thanks for asking!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.