Did They Define You?

Well Monday saw Spanish children FINALLY returning to school. Yes! they've been off since mid June-can you imagine? I don't have children, but I saw a lot of happy looking parents and exhausted-looking grandparents around yesterday.

As I saw some new charges, in their newly pressed and starched uniforms making their way to school, I started thinking back to that feeling I always got at the beginning of the new school term. I loved school, had no problems like bullying etc, loved buying all my new notebooks and pencils (I still love buying stationary today; I must get out more!)

But looking back, my school reports could have on occassion done me more harm than good. I have kept some snippets from my school reports in my Filofax for years. Some of them make me laugh, and one or two make me really angry.

Here's some of what my teachers said about me:

" If Vanessa spent more time concentrating than she does daydreaming, she could really reach her potential"
This really was an accurate assessment. I'm still known for being "away with the fairies" at some points during the day.

"Vanessa will never make an accountant. Her numerical skills are a lot to be desired".
I am slightly number dyslexic, so this was spot-on . You really wouldn't want me balancing your cheque-book!

"Vanessa will always be a good solid B student, never an A".
This comment could have really defined me. Thank God it spurred me on.

"Vanessa will always be one of lifes "plodders!"
OMG! this comment sent my very competitive (but supportive) Mum into convulsions. I'm sure she took to her bed for about 1 week!

"She has so much potential, but doesn't always channel it in the right way".
So true. Just ask my Hubby

"She has such a kind and sweet-nature, I just wish she would concentrate more".
I really loved this teacher. She was about 80 (or so she seemed to me at the time) and she taught me Literature. I have her to thank for my love of books.

The best one, was a remark made to me by my Careers Advisor, aged 16, when we were selecting our subjects for the exams that would see us get into University or not.

"I don't think Vanessa is really University material. I see her more selling perfume in Selfridges!"
This is the comment that sent my Mum into a fit! If it wasn't for my Mum, I really could have let this comment
define who I became. I did return to see this teacher when I graduated from University, but she was nowhere to be found. Perhaps my Mum got to her first ;-)

So dear friends, what can you remember about your school days?
Were you teachers spot on with their assessment of you?
Did you like or hate school?
Was there one teacher who stood out for you as being your loudest cheerleader?

I would love to hear your school-girl tales ;-)


  1. Wow, I did not imagine these kind of comments from teachers! Afterall, aren't they supposed be critical but in a supportive manner?

    I remember a lot about my secondary school days and 'parent's evenings'... and despite one art teacher telling me that doing a fashion degree is 'really hard' did I listen? No way! Of course I went and did the BA years later and if you worked hard you got results and I was way happy with mine.
    As for teachers report cards/comments, I was also a bit of a day dreamer and also an athlete... I had such amazing words of encouragement from some teachers that pushed me on to get those A's when I was also a supposed 'B' gal.

    I also think around that time, you're at the age where you actually care more about what your mates thought and did than you did about school grades!


  2. You see that was the good old days when teachers were allowed to let rip, now they have to be so politically correct!

    I remember a couple, I was a fat kid and one report card the teacher wrote
    " Has difficulty with movement" Cheeky sod!

    " Stares out the window all the time, will never amount to anything in life"

  3. The comment about your Mum finding that teacher first made me chortle! Your poor Mother. I'm glad that you had other influences to spur you on and were not left to wallow in those prophesies.

    I loved my early years at school. I loved to learn and I did very well. Like you, have an a deep and abiding passion for stationery that started early and has stayed with me. Most of my teachers loved me.

    Until high school. I was overweight. I did not enjoy sports (nor was I good at them), and in our little regional school sport was the be all and end all. There was a sudden shift, because doing well in class no longer meant very much. I had glandular fever for 4 months and many of my teachers "decided" I was feigning sickness and shared their opinions with my classmates. I wasn't bullied or anything dramatic, but I did not enjoy school any more.

    Thankfully my parents were my champions. When some of my teachers wanted to hold me back, my parents fought to have me independently assessed. I skipped two years of high school based on their assessment and started studying via correspondence at a city school. It rekindled my passion again and I enjoyed the rest of my studies. The other upside? I never had to attend another day of "track and field" *LAUGHS*

  4. I can't believe children in Spain are out for that long. I would have "no" hair left on my head.

  5. Well, I can't talk about Seville but in Barcelona in the Autonomous Community of Catalunya children went back to school on September, 12. Sure it's been a long time since the end of June and still probably too much for most of the parents, but no way near what you are suggesting.

  6. I love that you remember all of these, but have risen above the negative ones. :-) I don't remember comments from my teachers, but my literature and history teachers plucked me out of shy obscurity and fostered my love of writing, books, and imagination. I shall always love them for that. :-)

  7. Wow! Glad you didn't let those remarks define you!

  8. Wow, that´s really surprising, our teachers in Slovakia never made this type of comments, or if they did, it was to our parents only. I was quite nerdy at school, always the best grades, always loved by all the teachers. I think most of my classmates hated me for it :) But I think we shouldn´t let ourselves be defined by school or teachers. There´s so much more to life than school! And there are so many important life skills that you have to learn on your own! So, it´s up to us to decide what we want from our life :)

    Have an amazing weekend, sweetie!

    xx Ivana
    Style in the City

  9. I can not believe teachers could be so blunt in their comments. And I am not sensing any British humor behind them either. In High School we had numbered comments the teachers could indicate on our reports--I got a couple of "achieving below level" and they were deserved (had a boyfriend at the time and my head went soggy). I would feel shamed when I got remarks like that and would try harder. xxBliss

  10. So glad to hear you got pass those negative comments. How rude some teachers can be. one of the MANY reasons I homeschool. Teachers should be building confidence into students. I always hated gym, I was always the smallest girl on the teams and really not into sports. The gym teacher always had to place me on a team. I was never picked by team captain. So when I think back on school, I remember how much I hated gym.

    Thanks for sharing

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  12. Dear friends
    TYSM friends for all your comments.Here are some specific replies:

    @Tabitha- My God! your comments were much worse than mine. Isn't it funny how we still remember all the negative comments after all these years.
    @Dee- I completely see why you home-school. If one negative comment is made to a child who is feeling quite vulnerable, it could be disastrous.In my day teachers didn't care about "vulnerability". Could also have been a good thing as I think our generation is quite a lot tougher than kids nowadays.
    @Michi-if you are Spanish (which I am not) you will know Sevilla does everything differenly to everybody else!
    @Bliss-trust me sweetheart,there was no British humour in their comments; or at least I didn't see it ;-)
    Love reading about all your experiences :-)


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