It was always used against me, that I was so determined. That I was a good student. That I was so enthusiastic. That I seemed so confident. They pat you on the back with one hand and stab you with the other.
The passion I once had came from following my heart – I was born to be a teacher. It’s as simple as that, really. I was a mature age student, I’d travelled the world and worked in a variety of roles which seemed to naturally lead to this point. I have (almost) always had the pleasure of being taught by teachers who were there for the same reason. Students can tell! Parents can tell! Other like-minded educators can tell. It has been such a crushing blow to discover the hard way how many school employees are there for other reasons – and they are usually in positions of power. An accident? I think not.
I can’t remember what I’ve called Him on this blog before but He explicitly said, “I’m a teacher now because I have a penis. I’ll be principal before you’re an Accomplished teacher” (pay level after Graduate).
But graduates are always extra enthusiastic, you say, that’ll change. Even if you allow for the fatigue of years in the role versus Brand New Enthusiasm, there is a genuine difference in motivations to teach that affect professional behaviour, values and workplace interactions.
In the early stages, they lapped it up from me, as they did the other graduates. She wants to volunteer for that extra role? Yes! You’ve learnt about this new way of team teaching? Great! You can help lead the reluctant ones who just want to do it their way! You bring new life to this school! We are all better for it!
Until you speak up about something.
Until you say ‘too much’.
Even when what you’re talking about is criminal behaviour that everyone saw and commented on UNTIL you took it further, outside The Group. It should have stayed Just Between Us. You’ve just Ruined Everything. How could YOU do that to US?
Then you’re trying too hard, cocky, speaking “above your station” and “talking about people (they’ve) worked with for years so you’d better watch out”. But that’s just the beginning. Warnings. Subtle and blatant warnings that you don’t want to be A Troublemaker here…Mud Sticks…You’ll Never Work Again.
You always acted like a Slut.
Misunderstanding. This is all just crossed wires, yeah?
Why was it such a fucking horrible, drawn out experience? I can hardly choose one reason.
Because I was followed, touched, undressed, physically penetrated, cornered, bullied by a senior teacher?
Because it all happened around a primary school, on a camp with your young kids?
Because the children themselves witnessed so many inappropriate things that they voted to put a sign on the door of the classroom banning Him from entry?
That their parents approached me, saying that their kid was worried about ME and what He was like?
That I endured so much on my own because I loved my job so much?
That every single staff member in this small school found Him inappropriate, unprofessional or had questioned him before but when things became formal they vanished into thin air and lied during each level of investigation?
That the people; teachers of small children, that I eventually begged for help to be safe, that I’d cried and shared humiliating truths with; turned it back on me with the click of fingers?
That they used every clichéd slur and excuse in the worn out book?
That they bullied me and talked about me, told staff NOT TO SIT WITH ME AT LUNCH?
That the cumulative result of their actions was eventually to break me?
That despite my confidence, belief that I was meant to be a teacher, letters thanking me for the difference my efforts made with individual students…I wanted to be dead?
I said I was determined. I moved to another school. But information like that makes its way around, too.
He pled Guilty. And I was the one disgusted with MYself. I was revolting, a failure, a joke. Everything I’d worked for. Gone.
I thought I was in a different place. That I had purged it all. It’s 8 years this year since He started what he did to me. I am still at home. I still have no job.
I have had all the counselling, medication and researched every goddamn way to process and progress towards something. Anything. But this shit is like a cancer in your guts. It’s toxic and it’s scary. If you’re really unlucky, it’s wrapped around the core of who you are. You can’t really get away from it, because you are it. It has become you.
I have to live. I have to earn money at some point soon. And I can’t picture that woman in my head at all. To be out there is to be extremely vulnerable again.
There’s obviously more I need to do yet. What spurred me on until now was the idea that I could one day tell the story. That they couldn’t gag me or threaten me then. And I could shout it from the rooftop. Mostly because they said ‘you can’t tell anyone’ so many times that I thought the only way to beat the shame was to tell – put it out there and it loses some power. Or they lose some power. Now I might have that opportunity and I’m frozen with fear/excitement.
Maybe one of the worst things they managed to do is make sure I never knew when to trust anything again, even myself.