Dear My Highschool Teachers,
Remember me? The girl who used to sit always two the left or right of the room, never the centre and never the front row? Who used to read books under the table and stare out the window and wonder just what would happen if the world flipped upside down; or that butterfly on the sill started talking in soft whispers about the taste of flowers?
Hello. I doubt you all would remember me. No one ever does. But I remember. Each and everyone of you. Quite clearly.
Let me break it down for you. There are two kinds of people in the world. Introverts and extroverts. Yes, there are ambiverts but most sentient beings incline towards one particular end of the spectrum. Now, introverts gain energy from being alone and use up great amounts when in social situations. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from social interactions and feel listless in extended isolation. Have we got that down pat? Just simply psychology. Google it, if you need clarification.
So. There are many different races in the world. There were many in our classrooms. Yet, of course, you wouldn’t discriminate based on race. Nope. Not allowed. Reprehensible. Could lose your job. And yet, even though there are two diametrically opposite personality types, it’s alright to discriminate against that.
It’s all right to favor all the bubbly, talkative students who always have epigrammatic phrases spewing from their mouths. It’s alright to ignore the quiet, solemn students that sit like statues around the room, blinking now and then. Those students are weird, aren’t they? I mean, they just sit there. They don’t even talk all the time. And when you ask them questions, they look as if they’re emerging from some deep dark pool of their own mental creation, bedraggled and bewildered, flustered, blubbering, mouth stuttering, pink-faced. Strange, strange creatures. Move on to the next, nice, talkative kid that chats very nicely to all her classmates and has developed properly. Forget about those silent sentinels; they creep you out. Or maybe, and I believe this the better reason, you simply don’t care. Don’t care. Sometimes, I think indifference is the root of all evil, don’t you? People have lost their lives because of apathy. There would be less blackness in the world if people cared a little more, instead of being wrapped up in their own bubble of affairs.
Oh, but, it’s not all your fault, is it? I think the education system backs you all up quite nicely in this arena of prejudice. Yes, equipped you with boxing gloves and protective gear and all that jazz. Because all of a sudden, part of ones grade involves class participation. Yes! Oh, glorious! Isn’t that just every introvert student’s dream? Talk, you, talk, or you’ll fail. If you said that African Americans, for example, could only write about a Caucasian figure they admired and wanted to emulate in their report for their final grade, the media would guzzle it up and regurgitate across the pages of the world like mad. Discrimination! Bad, bad, evil, no, fix this! Angry tweets splattering the cybernet! But, of course, it’s not the same thing, is it? No, of course not. So, now, and you feel the edges of smiles creeping up your cheeks, now the quiet buggers will have to speak up. Or you’ll fail them. Or dip their mark to a degrading C. Even if their written work has been spot on all year. And that popular, extroverted, happy, charismatic student at the back will smile at you and you’ll smile back and we’ll wonder, quietly, what is going on and whether we should be worried or anxious or angry. We should. All three.
Ah! Now we’ve come to favoritism. Is it just me, or are all the extrovert kids favored magnificently by their equally extroverted teachers, hm? And it enables them to get a wonderful free pass when it comes to homework. I mean, it must be annoying to not get an answer from those introverted kids, huh? Must be real tough, bending over the table and repeating the question again and again, louder and louder; the awkward silence hanging like a phantom ready to haunt us all to our graves, until you move on with a shrug. But you’ve already destroyed something, destructed, mashed it all up like two watermelons meeting in an earsplitting, blood explosion. Because that kid, that kid you asked a question, with looming figure and imperious voice? You’ve scarred her. You’ve frozen the blood in her veins, brittle-snapped her bones, withered her skin into parchment. She’s going to hate herself for days. And her peers will treat her as a spectacle instead of a human being. Isn’t that nice?
But you know what? I don’t care. I don’t care. I shall surpass you in my apathy. Because no matter how much you all have put me down, I know my own worth and I will love myself in a world that denigrates people like me. I know that there are other students like me who I can relate to, confide in. We commiserate, swap horror stories which we laugh about, even though a pang still twists in our gut at the memory. I know that there are other teachers out there who do understand and who appreciate us quiet folks. I know that I have gifts as an introvert, hard as it may be to believe in them sometimes. But I know they’re there. And I know that if every introvert succumbed to the warlord that is sometimes education and its educators, we would lose many wonderful minds and wonderful inventions and works of art and literature. We are the flitting fairies of society; spreading our magic quietly until the world doesn’t even realise what has happened. We are the dreamers and we build the future. Humanity needs us. Quiet and loud. Yin and yang. Don’t knock a block off one end of the balance because the whole thing will come clattering down.
So, you lovely teachers, thank you for taking the time to read this. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
I hope one day you all can understand. I hope one day you all can get ‘educated’ yourselves. Because, you’re probably incapable of understanding many people in your life right now. Your friend. Some of your fellow employees. The mailman that slips in the envelopes and scurries away. Who knows. Maybe you have a son or daughter is an introvert.
I hope you treat them well. I hope you will one day treat all of us well.
And if you don’t?
Well, I don’t care.
I’ll just keep on dreaming and doing my thing. Ain’t nobody gonna put me down.
PS: Will be replying to comments on previous post soon! Just really felt like writing this. You could say it’s been stewing around for quite some time. Hated the writing quality of this, will probably do a rewrite of it in the future. In the meantime, hope you can enjoy it in all its flawed, raw-cracked glory.