I know the answer to that, Miss!

Today there was a definite improvement. With some work now on my desk I am beginning to feel I have a purpose.

Sad really. That I need the external reassurance of additional hearings; of meetings with Government and analysis of legislative initiatives; of STUC Conference and the anticipation of ‘Fitness to Practice’ cases. I want to be busy. I have so much enthusiasm, wanting to master the new challenge. More significantly (and I own and accept this deeply ingrained flaw): I also need to be seen to be smart and to be contributing something of value… (ugh)

I know that I’ve always been this sad annoying wee chiel. The smarty-pants clever-clog with her hand permanently in the air. I know the answer to that Miss! I know! Ask me! Ask me!

I was put up the back of the class in English because I annoyed the Hell out of Lucy McGill my English teacher. It was she who taught me that my sheer delight and enthusiasm in learning was a bad thing. I learned not to put my hand up. Because when no one else would answer (and nobody else did) she would sneer, smirk at the class and then say Alright class – Yvonne will have the answer… Yvonne? (with the sarcastic stress on the Yvonne).

She had a poster in her class which read Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do. I guess it was meant to be funny. I also guess that she thought that I thought that I knew everything, the poor sad sod.

Funny how I still want to punch her. But she smoked at least 20 and day – she’ll probably be 6 feet under by now.

It’s taken a long time – but I’ve gradually learned to temper the I know the answer! I know the answer! tendency – and now give folk at least a couple of minutes to make their own contribution. I’ve even discovered – sometimes – that some folks have really good smart valuable contributions of their own to make. In fact, sometimes better than anything I was going to offer.

It used to be that I felt vaguely deflated by their ‘brighter-than-me-ness’ – until I realised that, really, it wasn’t a good or pleasant or mature or secure person who felt that.

I’ve quietened my inner hand-up child for long enough now to begin to be able to appreciate and learn from other people – to use their skills to make a bigger and better thing from the whole as opposed to just me on my own…

Yip. I am still a sad annoying wee chiel inside. But I’m fighting her. Honest.


7 thoughts on “I know the answer to that, Miss!

  1. I became a horrible student in middle school…there wasn't room in my brain for school and girls. Except for hanging out…I found experience to be extremely boring. I kept my grades up enough to play football and golf…usually :).

    We spent some of my high school years living, if you can call it that, up north. Instead of me answering questions I often had questions asked of me.

    “Erik. What did they call a black person down South who looked a white person in the eyes…”

    Shit like that. I hated school.

    There's a time and place for everything but, generally speaking, you gotta be who you are…just learn to live around it. Use it to your advantage. It sounds like a useful problem.

    You could be like me addicted to Bourbon and penny slot machines. That is not useful. Ha.

  2. Your teacher sounds a right bitch. How dare she humiliate you like that. What was your crime: being enthusiastic?

    It's OK to be passionate about stuff and to want to engage. Good also to listen of-course…

    Don't change. I love you the way you are. 🙂

  3. Oh, I was one of those too, Yvonne, but thankfully luckier than you in my English teacher. You had the bad luck to have one who shouldn't have been teaching if she couldn't harness a child's enthusiasm rather than trying to crush it. We need people who either know the answer or recognise when someone else gives it.

  4. I'm livid on your behalf. I wish you could have been in my English class in years 9 and 10. Our teacher was just amazing. She had us so in love with Pride and Prejudice that we not only all read it to the end, but eagerly, and class discussions were lively and memorable. In that class, there were always several hands in the air. Shame on your Ms McGill for trying to squelch your enthusiasm when she should have been fanning its flames!

  5. Thanks Kariina. She was a besom. Glamorous. But jaded. She seemed old to me then – but was probably mid 40s. I irritated her – and maybe I was irritating. She mistook the enthusiasm for conceit – treated me as though I were to be punished for 'showing off'. It's ingrained in the Scottish psyche – 'don't get too big for your boots'… But the effect was to silence me throughout my first degree. I was afraid to speak up. Bet there's plenty people wishing I'd shut up now!!

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