My teacher told me . . .

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Growing up, I wanted to be a ballet dancer–at least, that’s what I told my first grade teacher.

(My first grade teacher was my teacher for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, as well, but that’s another story.  Many stories.)

I also remember her telling me how ridiculous an idea that was and how I would never be able to master ballet


I was too tall and too thick.

So I decided not to be a ballet dancer.

I told my first grade teacher I wanted to be a poet and a singer, and she worked so hard at criticizing and shaping my craft that I decided poems were best written in the top of apple trees or on roofs

or in my tree house in the old elm, words washed down with Jello tea, soda crackers, and sometimes tears.

And I told my teacher I wanted to be an actress and to make people laugh, and she told me I had knock-knees–in front of the whole school.

They did laugh.

I didn’t know what knock-knees were, but it shamed me, and I knew I would never be an actress.

I stopped telling my first grade teacher what I wanted to be and just became it in spite of her.

But I never danced.

About apronheadlilly

wife and mother, musician, composer / poet, teacher, and observer of the world, flawed Christ-follower
This entry was posted in Photography, Poetry, Thoughts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to My teacher told me . . .

  1. juliecrombe says:

    Great post! Amazing shot! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. Beautiful poem but I don’t like your teacher very much. I had a few of those myself and I didn’t follow my dream because of them. To this day I wonder “what could have been.”

    • I had the same teacher for 8 years in a one-room school, and her perfectionism did give me some skills; but if it were not for the wonderful support of my family, she would have squelched my creative spirit.

  3. Adults were so inclined back then to steer children away from “pipe dreams” and guide them toward more practical goals. They had our good in mind, right? They didn’t want us to be terribly disappointed. 🙂
    Today we may have fallen into the other ditch.

  4. Mirada says:

    WOW, phenomenal post. Words are so powerful, the tongue gives life or death to the hearer. Many of us are who we are today, in spite of others’ prophesying–perhaps because God has the final say. God bless you this Valentine’s Day.

  5. tootlepedal says:

    Don’t you love teachers. I hate to think how many people’s hopes I dashed with off hand comments.

    • They are the best and the worst. (I’m in the best! . . . I hope 🙂 ) My eldest son’s 3rd grade teacher consistently told some kids they would never succeed or be any good. Cringe. I started helping in the classroom to make life better for my son and survive the year. I complained, but she was tenured. With the perspective I have now, I should have yanked him immediately when I started seeing what was happening. Oy.

  6. jmgoyder says:

    This is so poignant!

  7. reinkat says:

    Really powerful. and really struck home. I am almost 60. I have not sung since I was 9.
    We really need to always be conscious of our words, especially around children. You never know what off-hand comment will stick in the mind of someone forever.

  8. Iamrcc says:

    Well I had knock knees and did everything I could to hide them. I stopped sharing my thoughts at a very tender age because I did not want to hear the criticism. I still share very little. Just my photos and occasionally a thought. Thanks for the visit and the like of my “Treasure” Weekly Photo Challenge post.

  9. dorannrule says:

    What a terrible teacher who erased your hopes! The impact can be there for a lifetime. I don’t dance either because a dance teacher once told me I had no rhythm and no balance. 😦

  10. Pingback: Thinking back . . . | A p r o n h e a d — Lilly

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