I remember one time in 5th grade we were sitting around talking and one of my classmates announced — with too much drama — that her sister sometimes goes into the bathroom while chewing gum.
Our teacher gasped in horror. “She really shouldn’t be doing that!” she admonished. I remember being struck even then by how extreme her reaction was. It was like my classmate had announced that she picked pockets or something.
Then there was 6th grade. I was getting into the adolescent stage and I had a lot of acne to show for it. A lot. I was also very aware of all my acne and more than a little self-conscious about it.
One day, during math class, my teacher looked at me and joked, “You look like you have chicken pox.”
You can imagine my reaction. I wasn’t exactly amused, and the rest of my face turned red. I was visibly hurt.
After class, she called me over. “I noticed you were upset by what I said,” she said. And that was it. No apology. No admission that maybe she shouldn’t have said it. This upset me even more, and what stays with me until this day.