In the Netherlands children enter the schoolsystem at age 4. They start when they turn 4 in classes where you mostly play, with some playful education thrown in, until the children are about 6 years old, when they enter the class where you start to learn how to read and write. You stayed at this school, called primary school, until age 12. Then you’d go to high school until graduation at age 16, 17, or 18, depending on what level of education you were getting.
This was the class where we started on learning to read, write and basic math. I know we had a female teacher, Miss H. who I didn’t like very much. I remember being friend with E. still and I was also friends with a boy named H. This was also the class where the real bullying started, which didn’t let up until I left school.
H. had a lot of problems with Miss H. He also had something along the lines of asthma, I think, although later on he didn’t have any problems with that any more, as far as I know. I remember one morning it was very, very foggy outside. The fog was thick and if you stretched out your hand, you had to concentrate to see it clearly. H. was late for school that day, because he’d had an asthma attack because of the fog. I remember Miss H. being angry about that, even though H.’s mother explained why he was late. H. cried because of the whole thing. Eventually, the situation between H. and Miss H. became untenable, and H. transferred to another school.
I also remember M. She was the daughter of one of the teachers at school and afraid (or more accurately made afraid by her overprotective mother (the teacher)) of every little thing that could potentially be scary. Witches, monsters, everything out of fairytales except for the princess, basically. One time, during craft hour, we were making these witches out of paper. She was excused from class and went and sat in the hall with a book, because making a witch out of paper would be too scary for her. Another example of this: we watched the educational series Ik Mik Loreland, where the main character Mik is searching for the letters of the alphabet which were stolen. In this series there was a monster. Sure, it was a bit creepy, but it wasn’t that bad. Yet every time a scene with the monster was coming, Miss H. had to stop the tape, excuse M. from class, then re-start the tape. After the monster was gone again, the tape was stopped again and M. could come in.
This was also the class I first kissed a boy in. I was kind of friends with C. and one day we were both sitting on Miss H.’s desk (don’t ask me how or why), Miss H. wasn’t there and we got dared to kiss, which we did. Just a small peck on the lips, but still, that was my first kiss.
I had a female teacher for this class, but can’t for the life of my remember her name. If I remember correctly, this was the school year in which my best friend E. moved. I didn’t make a new friend until class 6, so it could also be that E. moved in class 5. It was also the year I started answering the bullying by getting so angry I started hitting the bullies. Not the best way to deal with things, but the only way I knew.
Yet again a female teacher, the name I can’t remember. This was the year we were working on my anger problems. I had a notebook and every day at the end of the day, the teacher would write down how that day had gone, and if there hadn’t been any problems, I’d get a sticker. Five stickers in a row would get me a little treat from my parents, five times five stickers in a row (so 25 in a row) would get me a book. Now, I’ve always loved reading, so that was a pretty good incentive. The method worked, albeit with some bumps in the road. The bullying didn’t stop and they seriously provoked me, which my mother later told me that if she’d known about that, she would’ve insisted on more measures being taken against the bullies.
I don’t have a lot of memories of class 3 to 5, not only because I was still fairly young, but also because they weren’t very pleasant years. I’ve blocked out a lot of things and the professionals I later talked with said it’s best left alone. Still, I remember some things, like my friendship with E., and I remember those few things with fondness.
Ik Mik Loreland Intro