Sometimes the easiest thing for us to do is let our light burn completely out. Here is my story of my light not going completely out, but it faded. Now I twinkle.
Hello, my name is Rebekah and I am a victim of bullying. I was bullied from 3 years old until my sophomore year of high school. I hated the idea of actually going to school, but I loved to learn. I always questioned why I even bothered to try anymore if all I got in return was getting bullied.
I remember the very first day of freshman year of high school. I told myself this year would be different, that I would make some good friends, but it was the most difficult year of my life.
I will not give you all of the depressing details of my years of being bullied, but I will give you a glimpse into what every day looked like for me.
I would wake up to my alarm blaring at me. It usually took me twenty minutes to get out of bed, I did not have the energy because I would stay up until 2 or 3 every night. Finally, when I was up I had to somehow convince myself that I cannot, not go to school. Then, I would have some sort of fear that would make my entire body paralyzed for multiple minutes.
Once I got to school was even worse. I was always flying under the upper-class men’s radars. If they knew you were a freshman you were a target. Lucky for me, I was mistaken for a sophomore, junior, or senior. However, there was this one instance where I had upper-class men guys push me around in the hallway and harass me because they were bored. I was always on edge and fearful.
In the classroom, the teachers were given no respect. It was really hard for academic learning to take place because something was always going on in my classes. During my algebra 2 class, I remember how my “friend” would tell me I was stupid practically every day. That definitely made class unbearable, and eventually, I started to believe him.
Every day I would come home from school and lock myself in my room. I would do homework, but I would also enjoy the temporary peacefulness I had. Then it would start all over again.
I had begged my parents to let me drop out or switch schools. Of course in my family, dropping out was not an option. It took all of my freshman year but I found the school I would go to for the rest of my high school years.
This school was nothing like my old school, it was like a safe haven. When I went to schedule my classes for my sophomore year, I met with the head of school and was assured I would not be bullied. They have a zero bullying tolerance. In fact, many students that had been bullied in the past had come to this school.
My experience here was life-changing. I went from this shy, super introverted, terrified student to one who reached her full potential. I went from dreading school to being excited every day.
I had many wonderful teachers who challenged me to take a harder course or simply do more research on a topic. I also met friends who did not call me stupid or put me down, but who encouraged me and helped me when I needed it. I could not have imagined a better school for me to attend.
How does this all tie into my career? Well, the experience I had my freshman year, and many years before that, I want to be the person I never had for students like me. I want students to find their safe haven in my classroom if they do not have one. I want to be that positive influence in their lives and cheer them on.
I learned many things from my second high school. I learned how to be more confident and challenge myself even more. I learned how to connect with students of different cultures. I learned how much the teacher really does affect the environment of the classroom. I learned that teacher-student relationships are important to develop. I learned how to love going to school again.
All of these factors, and many more, all influenced me in some way to become an educator. Yes, I have had negative experiences with schools in the past, but I want to be that positive. I want to give my students what my teachers gave me. I am confident in my career choice and I have some big shoes to fill, especially as a future 9th grade English teacher.
After all of this, I still twinkle. So many things could have taken that from me, but I did not let it. Now, that twinkling light is a part of my life. I carry it for all to see.