Teacher’s Pet

Daily Prompt Post: Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

My favourite teacher was one that I didn’t meet until my second last year of school, though it quickly felt like I’d known her for a long time.  It’s funny, at first I really didn’t like her…through no fault of her own.  I’d had a favourite teacher since Year 7, and she was supposed to be teaching me Theatre Studies in Year 11, my first class with her since Year 8.  I was so excited.  I rock up on the first day only to find she’d left the school without so much as a goodbye (in fact, she’d ended the conversation with “see you next year!” before school let out) so I was floored and guttered.  Ms Tolli had taken her place, a teacher brand new to the school.  I didn’t know her at all, but she was replacing my then-favourite teacher and nobody was going to be better than her.

It didn’t take too long for her to show us her fun and awesome she was though, and quickly the whole class were counting down to her classes.  Realistically, I probably shouldn’t have been doing that class at all (I only signed up for it because I wanted to be in the original teacher’s grade).  I was shy, awkward and wasn’t really interested in theatre at all.  Despite all that, Ms Tolli made me (and others in a similar situation) feel like we belonged and that would could do it.

She was supportive and really had our best interests at heart.  More than that, we saw her as a friend.  Looking back, I’m not even sure how she managed that, because mostly when teachers try to pull that off, they just come off as try-hards.  Not Ms Tolli though.

The main project of our theatre studies class was putting on a play from scratch, using only the people in our class.  The class was pretty small really, only maybe 15 people, so that’s no small fete.  We wound up spending a lot of time outside of normal school hours working on it, helping the actors learn their lines, building sets, working out the costumes and music.  We became more than just a class of Year-11s-and-12s, we were like a little family, with Ms Tolli as our surrogate mum.

I feel like I grew up a lot that year, thanks to her mentoring and kindness.  I started the year as shy and timid, and left with confidence and a stronger belief in myself.

We were so close by the end of the year that we celebrated at Ms Tolli’s house with a BBQ and booze.  Throughout the year we’d gotten to know her three young kids, and they were so happy we were there and including them.  Everyone was really sad the year was ending.  Half the class was finishing school completely, and others weren’t taking up her class next year (drama).  I was though, purely because I wanted another year with her.

I still miss her sometimes, and wish we were in contact.  I don’t know where I’d be now if she hadn’t given me the confidence and self-belief that she did.  Thanks for everything Vanda ❤

Zoltar’s Revenge

Daily Prompt Topic: In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

Even the thought of this scares me a little.  Twelve was such a tough age.  On the cusp of puberty, starting out at a brand new (much bigger) school, having lockers and class schedules and fancy uniforms and meeting all these new people.  On top of that, your adult teeth are still making their way in so you look kind of like a Jack-O-Lantern, and your hair just won’t co-operate so it’s embarrassingly frizzy.  Safe to say I’d never wish to go back to that age.

If I had to, I guess I would recognise that everyone is feeling the same way.  At the time, I felt like I was going through it all a lot tougher than most, when really, that probably wasn’t true.  It’s a scary time for everyone there, it’s just that some chose to see past that and be confident anyway.

If I went back, I’d try to get to know more people instead of just the handful of friends I already had.  I’d try to relax a bit more, and not get stressed over school work and fights between friends.  I’d try to eat healthier, as this was the year where my diet began to go downhill.  I’d try not to fit in so much, as it’s okay to be different, and fitting in was never on the cards anyway.

That all being said, I learnt a lot from my first year of high school.  A lot of them were hard lessons, but ultimately have helped shape me into the person I am now.  I’m glad I can’t go back and change things, because if I could, who knows what I’d be like now?

– JD

#loveme challenge – Day Sixteen

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Day 16 – Something You Like about Yourself

This is probably the hardest prompt I’ve had so far.  Although nothing immediately comes to mind (like a lot of females in this day and age probably), I guess I’m going to go with my inner strength.  Is that a strange answer?  Probably.  Honestly, it was a struggle to think of anything at all, which is kind of sad really.  I suppose that’s what this challenge is all about though!

Anyway, I chose my inner strength as I feel like over these past 5 years (especially this year) I have changed from a timid, shy person into someone who can deal with almost anything.  I’ve been dealt a lot of bad hands, met a lot of nasty people, made a lot of mistakes, lost family members and friends…and it’s all made me stronger.  I guess it all comes down to my mentality, and I’ve always been a believer in “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…after this year, I’m proof of that.

I’ve had nights where I’ve shivered uncontrollably (to the point it probably would have almost looked like convolutions to outsiders), I’ve had days where I cried for hours, I’ve had moments of weakness where I’ve word-vomited my problems to a kind set of ears…but I always manage to pull myself together.  There’s always a strong voice shouting at me through the fog “okay, enough is enough, time to shake this off and get back to it”.  I don’t think anyone would blame me if I fell apart.  In fact, I’m sure some would expect it.  I haven’t though.  I’ve taken hit after hit and I’m doing okay.  I’m still standing.  I’m still fighting.  I’m refusing to let it all get to me.  I suppose part of the reason for that is if I do fall apart, I’m worried I won’t get back up.

Another reason though, is my amazing friends.  Being an introvert, I don’t have a lot of them, but the ones I do are so supportive and amazing.  I don’t have a particularly close relationship with any of my family, so without my friends I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as strong as I am.  Tying in with that, I’ve learnt in these past few years it’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to tell people you’re hurting or upset.  It’s okay to let people know you’re issues.  In fact, I’ve sort of come to rely on it.  Everyone knows my problems because I’m always looking for advise or a different outlook.  It’s part of my coping mechanism and while sometimes I wish I kept things to myself more, ultimately it helps me see things more clearly and to move forward with my life.

This was a tough post and it was a bit all over the place, but it’s the best I could do.  I’m trying to have more self-love and self-confidence but it’s a slow process.  I’m sure one day I’ll have a better response to this kind of question, but not today.

#loveme challenge – Day Thirteen

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Day 13 – Share a Quote

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I’m a sucker for quotes.  My “favourites” folder in my iPhone gallery is stuffed full of them, so it was tough to chose just one.  I decided instead of chosing my all-time best, I’d instead share the one I’ve currently got set as my phone lock screen.  I found this on Tumblr (where else?) and I love it.  This is something I’ve learnt in the past five years through my telco experience.  I started off timid, quiet, shy…I walked out of there full of confidence and a lot more prepared to speak up.  I grew so much from my experiences with rude and angry customers, ones that would go out of there way to try to tell me how to do my job.  At first, I let them.  Maybe they’re right?  Maybe I’m missing something?  Maybe I’m doing something wrong?  After I learnt that I was doing all I could, that’s when I decided I wasn’t going to be walked all over.  That’s when I started to grow up.  It’s not often you can pinpoint things like that in life, but I can definitely tell you I’m a different person to who I was at age 20.  I now have a confidence in myself I didn’t have before.  I feel comfortable enough to share my opinions and make myself heard.  This quote sums up perfectly how it feels to finally learn it’s okay to talk.  Before, I’d feel like I was invisible, that nobody listened…at the time, I blamed everyone else and withdrew further.  Now, looking back, I can see it was my fault.  I didn’t let people in, so of course I was going to feel that nobody listened.  I feel like I now have a voice (sometimes even a loud one!) and the world is finally starting to hear me.  It’s a great feeling!

#loveme challenge – Day Twelve

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Day 12 – Share a Flaw

While it can sometimes be a positive thing, I think one of my biggest flaws is how stubborn I am.  I’ve always been that way (Taurus through and through).  I get myself into arguments when it would be easier to walk away, I insist on doing things a certain way, I do things even if people say it’s a bad idea.  I think this was most prevalent in my teenage years, where I didn’t care what anyone thought of me.  Now, having to be all grown up, I have tried to reel it all in a bit and be professional.  I’m learning to let things go…even arguments.  Sometimes, it isn’t easy.  I try to listen to people more, and take on board what they say instead of brushing it off.  I’ve been burnt too many times now by people who told me something then finished it up later with “I told you so”.  That being said, if I’ve been doing something for a long time and people try to tell me I’m doing it wrong…nope.  Just leave me to it.  You have been warned.

As I said, sometimes being stubborn has it’s advantages – it means if I want something to happen badly enough, I will make it happen no matter what.  It also means that I make myself heard, which has sometimes been an issue as I’m very introverted and, up until about the end of my schooling, was very quiet and withdrawn.  My stubbornness was one way I overcame this…if I was right – or rather, if someone said/did something wrong – I’d speak up.  Sometimes it was the only time I’d speak at all.  Thankfully I’m more outgoing now (still not enough to actually call myself ‘outgoing’ as opposed to ‘introverted’ but I’ve definitely crept up the scale a little) and I’ve learnt that what I have to say is just as valid as the next person, and that it’s okay to have the limelight sometimes, even if it’s a little daunting.

-JD