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#460497 - 02/11/14 03:30 PM English class book report. MAY TRIGGER
ShortedDiode Offline


Registered: 11/26/11
Posts: 92
Loc: Hamilton, ON Canada
A book report I wrote for my Grade 11 English class has entered my thoughts periodically. I'm pretty sure the book was "How I Spent My Summer Holidays" by W. O. Mitchell, but I could be wrong.

At any rate, there was a scene in the novel where the protagonist hides and watches some girls who are on the verge of adulthood at a summer camp playing naked in a river. Par for the course for a coming of age story I guess but at the time when I wrote the book report, I interpreted it based on the way I (mis)understood the world and wrote that they were being initiated into sex. That is what I honestly thought was going on in the book based on how I interpreted what was written. I covered off a few other relevant parts of the book as far as the class had read to at that point and handed it in. The report came back with a grade in the low 70's and I read through the comments the teacher left inside. The paragraph about the river scene had a comment next to it. The comment was "You totally missed the point." I had no idea what the point was. I still don't.

That's all the teacher had to say about that apparently out of left field paragraph. I don't know whether it would've been appropriate for the teacher to take the report into the principal's office and report suspected abuse on the basis of what I wrote or not but nothing came of it apart from me being deeply embarrassed about being so wrong. But I started questioning the validity of my experience after getting that paper back. Fast forward to now, I don't just question the validity of my experience, but I know all bets are off - but what parts are off? How far? In what way? How to fix it?

I had a conversation with someone at work about a news story about "quiet rooms" in school and I ended up explaining some of my story about the school bullying and abuse at home but left out a lot including the CSA. The person asked me how I ended up working there instead of ending up a drug addict in the streets after all that abuse. I pointed out that like other kids, abused kids grow up too. Then it sank in to me that abused kids grow up - and land in an adult world that they haven't been prepared for. Now I understand why I feel so lost all the time. The problem is, I'm still lost.


Edited by ShortedDiode (02/11/14 03:36 PM)
_________________________
If it's a choice between laughing or crying, I'd rather laugh.

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#460528 - 02/11/14 09:23 PM Re: English class book report. MAY TRIGGER [Re: ShortedDiode]
takingitslow Offline


Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 58
Loc: UK
**********TRIGGER WARNING **********


When I was in year 12 we had to write a short story for an English language project. My friend who isn't the brightest wrote about being raped at a theme park. He got a low grade and the teacher never reported the writing or read anything into it. My friend never was raped in a theme park but he thought it was a good idea to write about when he was 18 .... thinking back about it seems more strange.... I'll have to ask him why he thought it was a good idea to write about that.

Anyway I wrote about a revenge plot against a taxi driver in my city. I got a low mark because my teacher said how could I write about murdering a taxi driver by shooting him if I have never done that or been shot. Looking back on it now some of the scenes from that short story were places my perp abused me- in a specific lay by and on a certain country road- and it gives me a little annoying mindfuck to think I wrote about revenge and the taxi driver was probably reminiscent of my uncle. Shame I can't find a copy of that short story as I spent ages on it doing loads of drafts and I just remember being gutted with a low mark when the exercise and what I produced probably showed a clear insight into my mental state at 18 when I was still being groomed and abused.

Dan


Edited by takingitslow (02/11/14 09:24 PM)

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#460537 - 02/11/14 11:02 PM Re: English class book report. MAY TRIGGER [Re: ShortedDiode]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3319
Loc: back in the USA
several times, as an English teacher, i have recognized unmistakable red flags in students' writing. not related to CSA - but depression and suicidal thoughts and paranoia and self-loathing. there were opportunities to speak to them about their feelings and refer them for counseling. a couple of other times, it was not their writing, but other vibes and body language and so on, that gave off the message that they were at risk. even one who denied that he had a problem - was blatantly giving off a cry for help - loud and clear!

i am sorry, SD and Dan, that your teachers were not more aware and responsive to your signals. i don't know if it would have made a difference, but i wish there could have been a compassionate intervention for you.

lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#460562 - 02/12/14 02:20 PM Re: English class book report. MAY TRIGGER [Re: ShortedDiode]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
SD,
I totally understand your feelings and comments. You know, it's not you that missed the point, it was the teacher. You understood the book based on your experiences and scenes it the book corresponded to experiences in your own life. Thus, you connected and wrote accordingly. You understood - the teacher didn't make those connections.
that's a huge problem. The teacher has the power based on his position and authority. In a simple sense, he gets to assign grades based on how he views your work. What he didn't get is that your life experiences, specifically the horror of your abuse let you to view life in a certain way and you wrote about it.

I get your comment about abused kids growing up and not fitting in in an adult world. that describes my life. I'm discovering more and more how my development was stunted and I'm still that little boy, looking at life from the perspective of a kid. My survivor skills at the time worked, and they protected me. Now they are hindering my life and my ability to grow.

Well written. I hope you'll continue to share your experiences with your writing.

Dave

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