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This is going to be long.

Dear Mrs. G (1st grade),

Thanks to you, I spent several years thinking that I was a horrible person with a major behavioral problem. My problem was that I was an outgoing, outspoken tomboy rather than a quiet, lady-like girly-girl, like you believed girls should be. My mother got phone calls from you every day over my so-called "misbehavior", sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, for major infractions like talking to the kid beside me, flipping out on a kid who stole something from me, climbing the jungle gym and "showing [my] panties to the boys", and not eating all of my lunch. Oh and even though my mother put me into therapy and on Ritalin, on the principal's suggestion, that wasn't good enough for you. When you asked my mother for permission to hold me back from 2nd grade, despite having some of the best grades in the class, and my mother said NO WAY, you and the principal went over her head to the school board, and of course you won. Congratulations. You had the principal, the school, and the city school board behind you. My only advocate was my mother, who fought hard for me, but couldn't be taken seriously as a black single mother living in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood "probably on welfare". For YEARS I believed I'd been held back because I was simply a "bad person". How do you explain that kind of thing to people? Well, I didn't know and I still don't, so it was easier to let people assume that I failed and was "stupid". Oh, and thanks for the totally boring following year, where I had to repeat all the work I'd aced the first time around. You thought I talked too much, well, you'll be happy to know that now, over 25 years later, I can barely look a person in the eye and speak to them because I automatically expect to be hated. So again, congratulations.

No love,
Xerox

Dear Mrs. J (4th grade),

You were just plain evil. There are too many of your nasty deeds to mention, but I'll never forget when I came to you bleeding from a cut and you snapped "What do you want me to do about it?!" and forbidding me to go to the nurse before telling me to get a paper towel so I didn't bleed all over my desk. Nor will I forget the way you deliberately held us on the last day of school so that most of us missed our buses home and left us standing in the bus ramp as you took off in your white Delta 88. I laughed muchly when I saw your obituary in the newspaper about 10 years ago. I hope whatever killed you hurt.

Hoping you're having a good time with your daddy, Satan,
Xerox

Dear Mrs. D (5th grade),

At the time I thought you were pretty nice, but that's probably because I was coming from Mrs. J's class. Now I can see that you were nothing but a sorry old bully enabler who wanted the popular kids to see you as the "cool" teacher. You sat back and allowed me to end up the class punching bag (literally) because I was "old enough to settle those kinds of things without adults", then called a parent-teacher conference to tell my mother that it was my own fault for not trying hard enough to fit in or having the nerve to cry when the other kids did things like threatening to come to my house and beat me up or hitting me hard enough to draw blood. Even evil Mrs. J didn't tolerate bullying in her class. You decimated what was left of my self-esteem, and I don't even want to think about how many other students you did the same thing to.

Bitter, who me?
Xerox

Dear Mrs. B (12th grade calculus),

You actually were a nice lady, but sorry to say, YOU. COULD. NOT. TEACH. When none of your students can score above a 2 on the AP exam (including the guy who has never gotten less than an A, graduated with a 4.6, and went on to graduate summa cum laude in engineering from one of the top schools in the country) year after year after year...maybe you should change something about the way you teach.

I still wish you a good life,
Xerox
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January 2012

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