Magic Cottage Creations

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July 7, 2020

100/100

By Maryanna Gabriel

"...there is a time to take back the years you lost 
in high school. The time is now."
-Natalie Goldberg



    Sometimes the message we get in childhood affect us our entire lives and it takes a bit of sorting to reframe beliefs that we might have of ourselves that are simply not true. When I was in grade twelve I had an English teacher I was very excited to learn from. He brought in a student teacher. I remember working on a paper for a long time, the table I worked at, the colour of the yellow paper I was writing on. The opening paragraph was quite splendid and I was proud of it, for I had I crafted it for a long time.

    The student teacher failed me. Why? She said I plagiarized. She decided the writing couldn't possibly be mine. It was too good. I mentioned it to my father who told me to speak to the teacher. I didn't at first. I thought how can I prove it is mine, if she says it isn't? When I realized it was affecting my transcript for university, I did go and speak to him. By then it was too late, he said, the marks were official. He seemed to accept what I had to say- the student teacher had long gone. I continued on at university and studied archaeology but I avoided literature, my first love, for I felt hollowed out by what I had experienced. One inexperienced teacher had redirected my life with her mistake.


    This week I got my writing portfolio returned from Simon Fraser University's, The Writer's Studio. It said 100/100. While there were comments on how I could improve my writing, this dear teacher, a published author who has worked for publishing houses, had encouraging praise. This is the stuff that fuels one; it makes me want to go forward. I thought of that student teacher of long ago, and the English teacher who has since died, and the damage done and wanted to blanket the old scar with care.

    When we are very young we make decisions about ourselves based on the feedback given. Much of it is complete rubbish. How many of these do we carry? We each do, don't we?