I remember my art teacher with the huge mole by her nose and how i felt that she never liked me. One day, in her class, she brought in a book to read to us about a man who photographed snowflakes. I loved the descriptions and the photos that were in the book but i didn’t get why people thought snowflakes were so beautiful for being different and thought i was weird for the same reason.

i wanted to join band so badly. when they gave us the option, i remember debating whether or not i should sign up or not. throughout elementary school, i did try to play the guitar, violin, trumpet and flute but i could never do it because i was too shy to play in front of my class mates. i felt like they were all watching me, judging me. besides band, we also had to learn how to play the recorder – it was mandatory. i failed every test for the same reason i didn’t join band – i was too shy to play.

Library was my favorite. at this point in time, i wasn’t very interested in reading primarily because there wasn’t really anything that interested me. there was a book with a dragon on the front but the words were too big and i couldn’t get into it at the time. i was jealous at the kids with good reading comprehension who all were reading and raving about the harry potter books when all i could read and comprehend was Junie B Jones. on the good days, when the librarian wasnt paying attention, all us kids would have races around the back room of the library. we would zig zag between shelves and duck and hide as the back room was out of the librarians line of sight. eventually, she would catch us and tell us to knock it off. and we did. i remember seeing two of my classmates playing a Dr Seuss game on the computer in the library when the newer Cat In The Hat movie came out – the creepy lookin one with actual people. I asked them again and again to let me play and they never did, and when i went home and tried to find the same game i never could. a lot happened in that library and though i wasn’t good at reading at the time, i feel that my love of books came from being there, surrounded by them.

Computer lab was probably my least favorite class of elementary school. My computer teacher hated me, absolutely hated me, and never tried to hide it. he was rude to me and wouldnt ever help me when i asked for it. I had trouble with the class not because i wasnt good at typing as i did type fast and accurately but because i ┬ádont type properly – i dont use both of my hands entirely i use my left hand and my middle finger on my right hand. if youve ever taken a typing class, you know how horribly incorrect that is. In the end, before i left elementary school, the teacher who hated me while trying to get me to type “properly” ended up marrying my guidance counselor, who was one of my favorite two people at the school. i didnt know how i felt about that when it happened, because she was so nice and he was so so rude. i didn’t understand what she saw in him or that maybe he wasn’t rude when he was with her.

Gym class they lumped with health as the teacher was the same. i don’t remember much from health class except that we kept the lights off usually because it was so hot on that end of the school. In gym, i have a very specific memory of playing with another girl by the bleachers and looking for the monsters that lived behind them. there was a red one and a green one. this girl was nice to me at times and rude to me at others. she picked on me for how i looked often but way later in high school i figured out she tried to cut her hair short because she wanted short curly hair like mine. i was flattered, but wished id known before, when i felt horrible and ugly, that someone thought something about me was beautiful. There was also a father daughter dance in the gym. my grandfather brought me because my dad wasn’t around. i was glad he did because i really wanted to go and had a really fun night. hes more of a dad to me than anyone else.

i don’t remember much about my actual kindergarten class. i remember my teacher and i remember that on one of the counters by the window, we had a piece of glass that threw off rainbow prisms. I remember that there was another boy who had behavioral problems who people always lumped together with me – i never felt we had anything in common. i always felt he was purposely being a bad kid and i never wanted to be seen as that. i didn’t know how to express my feelings and i was very confused as to how the whole school thing worked. i had gone to daycare but my mother worked at it so i was still spoiled there. in my family, i was the only child till i was 4 and therefore spoiled rotten. in school, i didn’t know why people didn’t spoil me. and i didn’t know why they avoided me. i later found out that i looked different from them, and they weren’t used to it. and when they asked their parents about me, their parents simply told them not to speak to me – that i was bad. i don’t know where the parents got this idea. all i wanted was friends, but all i felt was exiled.

There was a teacher at the school with the same birthday as me. They announced birthdays with the morning announcements and i remember always being so excited when i heard her name. then, i figured out she was the special education teacher – after they tried to put me in her class. i wasn’t good at mathematics. however, they were teaching us multiplication in first grade. i wasn’t special, i just had never seen numbers before and my mind was too underdeveloped to understand them. i fought tooth and nail to not be in that class – i was exiled enough already and i didn’t want to be seen as any more different then my skin color made me appear.

My guidance counselor and the principle were my two favorite people at that school. they were there for me throughout everything. when i got kicked out of class for being too loud, i was typically sent to one of them. instead of punishing me, they would try to talk things through with me. and they didnt try to do it in the condescending way that adults usually do either, they would take out toys and talk to me like a normal adult. my guidance counselor had a teddy bear and my principle had blocks and dinosaurs. If i was ever to visit people from that school again, it would be those two.

we’ll stop this here, at kindergarten, and i’ll continue to write another time about the rest of school. as you may have guessed, i am not white however i grew up in a small town where essentially everyone else is. i believe that was one of my biggest problems in school. if you see “the black sheep” in the title line again, it will just be more about the public schooling i went through.

Anna