I can’t believe I am writing this post. I promised myself I would never write this post. I would keep my head down and work hard and make a difference and I would never have to write this story. I can’t believe I am writing this story.
I just read this post. I can’t believe this is still happening. My excuse for this kind of behaviour when it happened to me that it was the 80’s and people didn’t know any better. I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.
Teachers had always taken an interest in me, my peers not so much. Ever since they started those tests in grade 3, the teachers took a real interest in me.
It really came out in high school. My Mother was a high school teacher (small town, one high school), so all the teachers new me from the start.
Around the end of grade 10 my Biology teacher talked to my Mom about getting me to enroll in Grade 11 computer science class. I had never thought about it, but he had convinced my Mom and my Mom convinced me. I was allowed to take my music and drama classes so I agreed.
Grade 11 computer science, me, the teacher and about 9 guys. I knew them all - Mike, Sean, Tom, Jeff, Dennis - I forget who else. Been going to school with most of them since kindergarten. I thought it was going to be fun. They knew my marks, they knew I had gotten an award for my marks at Christmas exams in Grade 9. (That is a different story, I didn’t even know there was an award until a classmate marched down the hall announcing I had gotten it like I had purposely tried to injure her.) I didn’t have anything to prove to my classmates, I was looking forward to computer science.
Now to get a sense of it, keep in mind I had all my classes with these guys - Math, English, Chemistry, Phys. Ed, all my classes. In Math class for the last two years, when the teacher left the room everyone at the back (I liked to sit at the back) turned around to me to get me to explain what the teacher said. In English it was Peter, who used to sit beside me, he had a handle on Shakespeare and poetry I never had - but they turned to me in Math.
So - computer science, it was a small class - this was going to be fun.
I can’t remember the exact chronology - it has been over 25 years - but early on we did binary math. And I remember the class. The science teacher, who was teaching the computer science class, was explaining the positions in binary. All of a sudden a light went off and I got it. I went up to the board and started telling the teacher what the positions meant and talking about the positions he hadn’t gotten to yet. Then I faced the guys and explained it to them. The teacher was smiling and the guys gave me the deer in headlights look. I didn’t think anything of this since this had been happening in Math for a few years so I just kept explaining until they got it. Mike got it next - very excited - and then started telling the guys and then the rest of them got it.
I was so happy, I understood binary. This made sense to me now.
Next we did electronics and bus boards. I loved building things and this was so fun. I remember the little white plastic board and the resisters and capacitors. I remember learning about them and really understanding - it made so much sense. We each had a bus board and some parts and a module to work through.
Then I was sick one day - couldn’t go to school. We were on a system where we took our classes for the full year and had every class everyday.
I returned to school the next day. I walked into computer science class and all the guys turned to me as I walked in. The were kind of grinning. I asked them, “What?”
They showed me a melted bus board. Tom and Jeff had put in some of the components the wrong way yesterday and the board caught fire. They told me how they all jumped back and pushed the board off the desk and Jeff stomped on it with his shoe. You could still see the tread of the shoe in the cooled once-melted plastic. I didn’t think anything of it, this was not unusual behaviour for these two. They kept laughing and looking at me, “Yeah, it was your board.”
How could this be my board, I was not at school. Even if they used my board, this was not fair - they had ruined it.
The teacher was straight faced. They couldn’t get anymore boards, I would have to share.
I sat out the rest of the module as an audience for Mike. So he got to play with LEDs and make them show digits and make them blink and I got to watch him work.
I was able to do my work in Math, able to do my work in all my other classes, but in computer science I learned to be an audience.
In my work now, I am trying hard to make up for lost time. I work with good people, very smart, very hard working and they have been very welcoming toward me. I tell myself not to let what happened in high school bother me, it was so long ago. I have an opportunity to learn some things now and I have learned a lot.
But I can’t be silent if I see this is still happening. I have worked so hard to make a difference in my life and in the lives of those who would let me. I read this story and I realize that it doesn’t make any difference at all.
They say that for every negative person in your life you have to have 9 times that many good experiences just to break even. I feel like I’m not doing enough. I can never stop those who would hurt or belittle others, there are just too many of them. All I can hope to do is be one of the 9 people this person meets in their life, just so they can break even.
Thanks for reading,