Why my French teacher hated me

When I started secondary school I was determined to give it my all in every subject (except music). I was in top set and nievely thought that meant I had to be good at everything. The problem was it’s hard to give your all to something you don’t like, let alone hate. And I hated French. I persevered up until year 10 when I started GCSE and then I just stopped. I’m a lot of things and a quiter isn’t usually one of them but in this case I made an exception.

Firstly it is no secret that my teacher hated me. I knew it and so did the rest of the class. I was bottom of the class with the worst grades in my group and I didn’t care. In fact whilst to most other people my poor grades, punctuality and attendance to my French class showed me in a negative light I grew ever more confident I was doing the right thing. I had high grades across the board asside from French and was excelling in most subjects - subjects such as maths and English - subjects that were going to get me somewhere in life. I had French thrown upon me as I was forced to take a foreign language and I really didn’t care whether I took French or Spanish I had no intentions to do anything other than fail at this point. To be brutally honest I had better things to do.

Learning a second language can take you far but I could know 8 languages with a great career using them and I’d still be miserable. I hate languages the fact I sucked at them just made it easier for me to make the choice to completely punt the subject. Had I have somehow managed to be good at French despite loathing the subject entirely I may have been nieve enough to think it was worth it. Which it wouldn’t have been. I was miserable and even an A wouldn’t have changed that.

French was not a subject I was ever going to win and I was even less likely to enjoy it, so I wasn’t going to play the game no matter how much people tried to force me.

The poor grades stood out like a sore thumb on my report cards but I never cared because my self esteem was not wrapped up in a report card or anyone else’s opinion, it was (and still is) internal and came from the knowledge that one minor weakness doesn’t take away from your strengths.

My teacher hated me. Her distain was no secret but every snide comment about “those with catching up to do” and the “certain people who need additional support” accompanied by a glare in my direction only made me less inclined to even pretend to try. I was terrible at French even when I had tried in the past and I knew that every second I spent trying to fix that one insignificant shortcoming I was wasting an opportunity to execute against one of my strengths such as maths for example, so instead I used French class to do my maths homework.

I’m working in an apprenticeship role in a job I love and I certainly didn’t need to know any French to get there. What I did need was to go all in on my strengths and ensure I got the most out of what I was good at and what I enjoyed.

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