Friday, January 06, 2006

middle school

my middle school years... i could write reams about those three years. or be utterly silent. there's almost no in-between way to describe that pain... it was a very lonely time. all that i wished for during those years is to have one friend in the world that i could really talk to. i did have a friend, but intellectually we weren't on the same plane. (there was a lot of affection, but we couldn't really communicate... that friendship was more about having a warm friendly person that you could go to the pool with, than about sharing your inner intellectual life/dreams/thoughts/ideas) I read all the time in middle school - Dickens was one of my favorites - while she barely read anything even for classes... you get the picture... of course this reading habit got me labelled weird... and boys would taunt me... it didn't help that i was one of a tiny sprinkling of Indian kids in our entire town of mostly Italian-Americans in New Jersey. Now that i think about it, i did have a couple of friends-- Mrs. Nover, the school librarian, and Mrs. Strauss (who was Mrs. N's sister!) my French teacher. Those two ladies saved me... in fact, when i decided to become a teacher a few years ago, i decided of all things to teach middle school probably to try to give to children some of what i was lacking back then, as these two wonderful women did for me.(i did it for 2 years, but then realized that while i loved many aspects of teaching, that big classroom with 30-odd kids you have to manage wasn't for me...) when i went back to my old middle school during the time i was preparing to become a teacher, i met some old teachers of mine, and one of them had something very interesting to share: she said that back then, i was pretty articulate and even gregarious with adults, but had a very tough time with my peers. i remember this, and the pain of it. i was one of those on the outskirt kids... all this slowly started to lift and get better in high school and much changed by college and beyond... but it took years to shake the feeling that, when people laughed, that they were laughing at me.


Ganesh said...

must have been tough,
on the lighter side, you must been knowing lot of italian slangs/their style of english right?

Continental Drifts said...

I just discovered your blog and it's most fascinating and mirrors my school life almost perfectly. I went to school in Bombay and I was a voracious reader. I had very few close friends and even then I couldn't really discuss ideas with them, but they were very kind compassionate people. I was fast friends with the Librarian and he kinda looked out for me and sheparded me through tough times for which I remain eternally grateful. I've always found that I relate better to older people than I do to my peers.