All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Answering Whispered Questions MAG
As the teacher's parched lips opened to pronounce my name, I knew what lay ahead. Her cruel eyes panned toward me, and she summoned me to the whiteboard. My eyes darted around the brightly colored room; my mind tried to strategically plan. I melted into my seat right then and there.
Sitting in that classroom was the absolute last place I wanted to be at that moment. My heart pounded, my stomach churned, and my entire body quivered with fear.
I was being beckoned to the board to perform a long division problem. Long division was my most dreaded subject. I repeatedly put the numbers in the incorrect places, or forgot to add in the zeros.
I tensely lifted myself out of my seat. With every slow, shuffled step I took, I grew more and more nervous. My palms started to sweat. I could feel everyone's eyes glued to me, judging me silently. I just barely overpowered the urge to dart out the door and run away from this unwanted predicament.
As I approached the whiteboard, its massiveness intimidated me. It was challenging me sarcastically, for we both knew it would declare victory in the end. I heard the blonde-haired girl next to me uncap her marker with a squeaking pop. I copied it and twisted the cap off my marker. The teacher announced the equation aloud, and I cringed with every syllable. I tried desperately to scavenge my brain and translate the undecipherable gibberish she was spewing out. I looked at the girl to my right, and tried to copy what she was writing, unsure of myself. Despite my efforts, she went faster than I could comprehend, writing down what seemed to be foreign hieroglyphics.
My gaze again fixated on the chicken scratch I had attempted. My work looked like how a baby sounds when it's just learning to talk. Impossible to understand. Why me? Why couldn't I wrap my mind around this strange concept that all the other kids understood? Why, even when I tried my hardest to process these equations, did they come out looking like a few lonely, awkward lines on the page? These questions swirled in my head like whispered questions in the dark. The word why echoed in my mind, tearing at my heart with wickedness.
I held back salty tears. My thoughts came back into focus as the other girl closed her marker and pranced back to her seat. Hysterical with fear, I slapped some arbitrary numbers on the board, and rushed back to mine. The teacher read over our work silently. A hint of frustration came over her face as she read my pathetic attempt at this concept that I so despised.
“Now, class, Susie did this problem absolutely correctly.”
I glanced at the little blonde-haired girl, and she was beaming with perfection. I envied her.
“As for Tara,” the teacher proclaimed, rolling her eyes, “Gosh, I don't even know what she did. I mean really, it looks like she's dumb or something.”
The class burst into snickers, and I felt my face turn red as I tried to sink as low as possible into my seat, in hopes of preventing them from seeing me at all. I wanted to wail. I was engulfed in humiliation.
But this memory from fourth grade is one I remember, surprisingly, in a positive way. This experience made me feel unimportant and downright dumb. Yet it made me stronger, and gave me persistence.
When I get a horrific grade in school, or am put down by somebody, I think of that moment and every single one of those whys that I asked myself. The twisting sickness in my stomach comes back – and gives me the motivation to answer all of those whys and persist until perfection, or as close as I can get.