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80's Primary School Teacher

80's Primary School Teacher, Acrylic on canvas, 40 by 40cm

This small event changed my life, I'm not sure if it was for better or worse. When I was an older child I'd had teachers do worse to me like full on hit me but that never bothered me, this did bother me though.

The teacher was a piece of crap though for reacting the way she did, I won't mention her name because she doesn't deserve to be associated with me.

There was a school bully, I won't mention his name either.

He had sharp fingernails, it was rumoured that he'd cut them into spikes, all the better to scratch you with.

We were all sat down on a rug in the classroom having a story read to us.

He kept sticking his nail into my arm, I kept whispering stop it, the he pinched me and kept squeezing his nails in until the pain got too much and I punched him right in his stupid face and bust his nose. All hell broke loose, he was wailing, the teacher was going ballistic, she grabbed me by my upper arm and dragged me to my feet then forced me into a chair in the middle of the room and yelled 'Don't you dare move an inch'.

It was the end of the day and the other teacher ushered the children to the cloakroom so they could change into their outdoor shoes and coats.

Now this teacher who I used to really like was screaming in my face and poking her finger into my chest really hard. She was saying things along the lines of how dare I punch this kid and that I could have really hurt him and she was going on and on and wouldn't let me speak, I kept saying he was nipping me but she didn't listen.

Then she stuck her fist in my face and was pushing it in my nose. She shouted 'Imagine If I punched you in the face, imagine what damage it would do, my fist is as big as your face, it would crush you'.

I remember thinking that's a really weird thing to say.

I remember thinking her reaction was really uncontrolled and scary and idiotic.

Even as a young child I remember looking at and listening to certain teachers and thinking what idiots they were.

She had lost control of her temper. She was bright red, screaming and shouting and sticking her fist in my face and she was embarrassing herself in my eyes.

Having said all that, it had the desired affect on me.

I never punched another person again, ever, not even to defend myself.

My life was changed, I'd always been the sort of kid who'd fight anyone, not anymore.

If a group of lads were beating me up, I'd just block and dodge and never could bring myself to hit them back, so I'd just say something cocky like 'You can't get me down though can you!' and then sprint off, I was chased many times as a child and never caught.

When I was in upper school the other lads used to bully me, they could sense my weakness.

I remember a kid once in glass kept punching me in the back each time the teacher was turned to the blackboard and the he whispered to me that he was going to kill me. I was holding back tears, not because I was scared but because I was sick of being a coward, I got up and started to leave. The teacher shouted 'sit back down' I said 'no, I'm leaving' and walked out, that's when I stopped going to school.

One time when I was a bit older, around eighteen, I was walking through a village with my girlfriend when a small group of lads walking past staring. Once they had passed I felt a kick right in my back as I flew forward.

This guy was shouting 'You think you can give me a dirty look' and was swinging at me, all his friends saying 'kill him'.

I kept dodging him and realised he was really drunk because each time I dodged him he'd swing and kept falling on the floor in front of me. He did manage to connect a couple of times though and got me once right in the forehead.

I kept asking him to stop, soon a group of men who were outside a pub across the road came over and told them to leave us alone.

When we got back to my girlfriends house I looked in the mirror and I actually had an imprint of a sovereign on my forehead from his ring. My girlfriend was crying a lot and I remember this old familiar feeling of being a coward came back to me.

I kept thinking why didn't I just batter him, and then his friends, why didn't i stamp on his face when he'd fallen over. What was holding me back. Whenever anyone had been violent to me I always knew from looking at them and from the way they were hitting me that I could easily destroy them if I decided to, but I could never bring myself to fight.

It happened a few times when I was older and each time I'd wonder why I couldn't fight back.

My dad was a fighter and I knew he'd be turning in his grave.

After trawling through memories of the past, the only thing I could think of was this incident with the primary school teacher and the last time I'd properly hit someone.

At the end of 2016 I started going to Krav Maga class. I did really well at it and got my first two belts. I'd do well in sparring and the teacher would often praise me.

I stopped in 2018 when my friend died and I went on a little drink bender. I never went back.

Not long after that, my girlfriend and I was walking our dog Nora. Nora is a little weirdo and she went up and sniffed a fox poo then peed on it.

This car stopped and this fat bald Australian guy shouts out of the window 'oye, pick your dog shit up'. I said, 'Oh that's a fox poo, she just peed on it'. I held up a full poo bag as we always pick up after our dog even if we were in the middle of nowhere. I said 'honestly we are conscientious,

we always pick up after her.

He said 'I don't believe you' I said 'Well, Fuck you then!'

Bad move.

He pulled up his car and said 'You think you're tough, I'll plough your head into the pavement'.

I felt the fear a little and didn't say anything but was thinking about how I'd tackle him if he got out of the car.

I half worried though that I wouldn't be able to fight back.

Then I noticed a toddler in a car seat in the back of his car, I thought to myself 'Why is this idiot starting a fight with me with a kid in his car'.

My girlfriend, quickly lost her temper and went off on him, 'How dare you speak to him like that....' He was just dumbfounded as she gave him a right telling off, it was very embarrassing

As I'd noticed the kid though I told my better half to stop and I said to the guy 'I apologise for swearing at you' and I told my girlfriend to keep walking.

He just stared at me, I stood there calmly and shrugged my shoulders at him and he just drove off.

I did feel like if he'd have got out of the car and attacked me, I would have defended myself, but I guess I'll never know.

Sometimes I think it was a blessing that this teacher went off on me that day, maybe it saved me from getting in a lot of trouble fighting, other times I blame her for turning me into a coward.

When I was a teenager I went to pick my little brother from school.

The same teacher was there, she was shouting at a little boy who was in a chair, really, she was jabbing her fingers at him.

I waited with my arms folded until she noticed me watching, I put on my most patronizing, disapproving, disappointing look and shook my head slowly at her, then said something like, idiot or arsehole or something, she looked embarrassed and shocked.

I turned to my little brother and in a happy voice said 'How was your day Ryan?' he a said fine and I said, 'let's go home then'. and left.

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Anjana Dey Clark
Anjana Dey Clark
Jul 19, 2021

I love these social, personal life stories accompanying your artwork. Very readable and viewable. I used to do social artwork like you...observational really...and the style was very similar. I stopped because I ran out of impetus to do it, but you've inspired me to try again. Well done.

Jul 19, 2021
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Thank you so much, I'm glad to hear that! I'd love to see that work!

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