My teenage years, what can I say about them. Well, I can’t honestly remember if I was a ‘typical’ teenager or not, I’d have to ask my Mum that question. I remember being fairly quiet at school but I wouldn’t say I was shy. I would occasionally speak up when I felt like I had something important to say but I would never talk for talking sake. Sometimes my brain would shut down if I have to listen to monotone, uninspiring and uncharacteristic monologue. I couldn’t help it, that’s the way my brain was wired I guess. If something didn’t interest me, I would act as if it did but I could never remember what was said… the words would end up being stored to the very back of my brain along with all the other information which didn’t serve me at the time. I do love a good conversation, but it’s got to have some meaning to it, bring something to the table… have a point, you know?
My style during the early part of my adolescent years was metal braces, short hair and Doc Marten shoes… oh and Dunlop trainers. My eating was still out of control and I was fairly large for my age, my idea was if I looked like a boy, nobody would come near me or cause me any grief. I suppose I was a little bit rebellious, not only with other teens but with a few of the teachers too. There was one particular teacher I remember who was referred to as the ‘Doctor’ of English. This teacher happened to be my English Language and Literature teacher for a number of years and for some reason he took an instant dislike to me. I had no idea why, maybe it was because he couldn’t work out if I was a boy or a girl.
There were many occasions when we had to take home a book the teacher had chosen for us to read and then for homework we had to write down our thoughts and feelings about it. Of course, I was honest… maybe too honest because there were a fair few books I couldn’t get my head around no matter how hard I tried, the words just didn’t sink in, instead they would escape into a distant corner of my grey matter, never to be disturbed again. ‘Doc’ wasn’t happy and whenever it was marking day, my workbook would always return looking like somebody had suffered a severe nose bleed all over the pages… bright red pen marks, scribbled comments with huge question marks and ‘see me’ written in the margins. I never did see him about any of his comments, he obviously couldn’t cope with my constructive criticism.
I remember one morning before school, I was eating my breakfast in front of the TV when there was a news flash with regards to the Poll Tax riots. The footage was shocking, people pushing and shoving each other, shouting at the cameras and what I witnessed next made me almost choke on my toast. There was my English teacher amongst the rioters, red faced, shouting and shoving with the rest of them. Well, that confirmed my thoughts about him, this was a man with major anger management issues. Rather than to address the issues he was experiencing in his life, his way of coping was to project his anger and frustration out onto others.
I felt sorry for ‘Doc’ but our relationship never did change and he carried on marking my work down. So the outcome was… yes, you guessed it… I failed my English GCSE, along with Maths. I was never any good at Maths, even though I had lovely Maths teachers, I could never get my head around it all and I found it quite boring. Thankfully, on a wing and a prayer, I managed to pass both subjects the second time around. I also had a different English teacher, who at first, gave me the impression that he didn’t like me very much either… maybe because I used to skip most of his lessons due to my A Level commitments, or maybe it was because I managed to achieve the highest grade in his class… ‘I can’t believe you got a B!’ he had announced, with a half smile. I felt a little guilty for not making the effort to attend his classes, but I did thank him for his help and support, he was a good egg.