Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Effect of Miss Bitchard

As a continuation of yesterday's "Know Thyself" post, I think the time has come for me to expose Miss Bitchard. She was my Kindergarten teacher. I feel compelled to describe at least one life-changing event in which she played a major role.

One day in the girls' bathroom, Miss Bitchard decided she had finally had enough of young Betty's antics. (Young Betty just stood in the room looking like a deer caught in the headlights while the other, more reasonable girls did what they were supposed to do in the bathroom.)

Mind you, Betty was the youngest in the class and the smallest. Today, there would be a question as to whether or not Betty was "Kindergarten-ready".

On that fateful day, Miss Bitchard, who had finally had enough, grabbed Betty by the shoulders and screeched, "Now look! I've had ENOUGH of this! You get into that stall RIGHT NOW and USE the toilet!"

With that she shoved a trembling, alarmed young Betty into the nearest stall.

The rest of the girls in my class were lined up at the door, waiting to leave. Did they leave? Nooooooo. They all stood there, watching, listening, with Miss Bitchard, who had had enough. I could see them through the cracks between the door and the stall sides. Assuming that they also could see me, I tentatively pulled down my underpants and forced my reluctant butt onto that unwelcoming, icy toilet seat.

I knew not what to do. I was shivering and crying (silently so they wouldn't know). Dead silence filled the cavernous room. Time became my enemy, because I could see them becoming more and more impatient with each dreadful moment.

"HURRY UP!!!!!" she bellowed.

I knew my time was up. I was terrified, having failed to perform the function for which I was imprisoned. (How could I ? Nobody could have emptied a bladder under such pressure!)

Panicked, I practically fell off the toilet. This was not one of those wimpy child-sized toilets you see in schools nowadays- it was a full-blown monster. I examined the behemouth, desperate to figure out how to flush, yet very much afraid of it.

"WHAT are you D-O-I-N-G in there?" Boy, she was spitting mad now.

I was cornered. I had no choice but to feebly open the stall door (once I figured out how) and whisper, "H-h-how do you f-f-f-flush it?"

The woman stormed into that stall, spitting blood and venom. Horrified beyond words, I jerked my dress up and spread it out like a canopy over the toilet bowl so she couldn't see that its liquid was not yellow.

" WHAT are you DOING????? Get your DRESS out of it!"

Gales of laughter erupted from the audience as Miss Bitchard flushed.

I don't know how I ever showed my face to the world again.


taikochan said...

Overworked, underpaid teachers and scared little kids. Not a good combination.
I only attended public kindergarten before my (angelic, incredible) mother started home schooling us all, but it was enough. I didn't fit in -- mostly because I had never been taught to be ashamed of being scared, and so admitted it too readily. Luckily, with the support of great older siblings, I struck a scornful, superior attitude about it, basically "who gives a damn what all those loosers think?" (or rather the 5 year old equivalent of that... no damn, I don't think) Which kept my self-confidence and self-respect, but probably has affecting my life since. Maybe you could go back to that to explain why most of my good friends have children my age...
Or not. I always wonder just how much childhood experiences really affect anything. One of my dear friends has a bumper sticker on her car which reads: "It is never to late to have a happy childhood."

Betty said...

Hi Taikochan,
I like your friend's bumper sticker. And I too wonder how much these childhood experiences really affect us. After all, everybody has stories of childhood trauma, so at the very least, we're all pretty much equally affected. The reading that I've been doing lately has lead me to believe, however, that self-examination is critical to living the best life possible. The examination has to be followed by some sort of "moving on" or "getting over it" process. But Krishnamurti especially implies that few of us really know ourselves.

One reason I feel especially compelled to self-discover is that I believe we each have our own individual set of "issues" to face, or lessons to learn. I hope to at least be sure that I know what mine are.

garnet david said...

It's funny, I did things backwards, I had a mostly happy childhood, and now feel I'm missing out on the happy adulthood. Maybe I just need to continue that happy childhood I started, but I wonder where I got off.

ME Strauss said...

Oh Betty,
As an ex-first grade teacher I want to find her and give thrash her, but you know she has probably no idea. Teachers have feelings too and it sounds like this one took you a little too personally. She needed to get her self-concept together before she tried working with five-year-olds.

Now you just tell that little girl who knew that Ms. Bitchard that you're grown up now and you won't let anyone do that to her again ever. And if anyone even tries anything near it, just come get me and I'll call my brothers Angelo and Pasquale. ;)


Betty said...

Hi Liz,
Your comment caused me to realize something about my own child- I think I have done a decent job of teaching him to set boundaries. If this incident had happened to him, (although it wouldn't because he was kindergarten-ready and very capable of functioning in the bathroom) he would have blown the whistle on Miss Bitchard, and fast. I'm not applying for Mother of the Year, of course, I'm just wondering if maybe I've done something right. Maybe.

Ananke said...

Oh, that story brought back memories! I was also the youngest in my kindergarten class. My birthday is in December, so I was still only 4 when school started and my mother tells me that they tried to talk her out of enrolling me because I wouldn't be able to keep up with the other students. Ha! I made it through just fine, but I was always sort of the odd one out. Luckily, my kindergarten teacher was nice. I didn't run into my own Miss Bitchard until I was in second grade. Then I got Miss Bitchard, Jr. again in fourth grade. I was sooooo lucky. ;-)

~Alisa said...

I had one of those Kindergarten years too. I was locked in the bathroom because I couldn't stop crying. The bathroom stalls were in the actual classroom. Though I was not very loud, the teacher made a HUGE deal about it to the class because I was disrupting the rest of the kids. (I was disrupting?)
This was in 1974 when most of the girls still wore dresses to school and abuse wasn't something one spoke of out loud. (Because the teachers were too busy making sure the kids were too damn scared to talk....

Dana said...

Sounds like my third grade teacher. What a witch! She did not belong near little kids.