I didn’t talk much in kindergarten. I resented my parents for making me go to school and my teacher was really scary. I was terrified of getting into trouble because one day a boy in my class got in trouble and the teacher made him stand still in front of the class and “not even breathe”. No one believes that actually happened and so I have started to doubt it too, even though I can remember the situation really well. Whether or not it really happened doesn’t matter, I was scared of doing anything to draw attention to myself. I kept quiet and did what I was told.
In year one things changed. My teacher was really kind and I liked being in her company. When she was on playground duty, I would walk around with her and chat. I had friends and sometimes they would walk around with us but I preferred when it was just the teacher and I. I have no idea what we talked about but my confidence soared and I started participating more in class.
One day our whole grade was together for an assembly. We were just about to start singing something and I got a brilliant idea. Right before everyone else started singing, I started screaming really loudly. It echoed around the hall and everyone turned to look at me. I don’t really know why I decided to do it but I was stopped by the teachers down the front. They weren’t impressed and they called me up to the front of the hall and made me sit there in shame.
I remember feeling so embarrassed. All of my classmates were sitting behind me and probably thinking the six year old equivalent of WTF! I had to sit there for the rest of the assembly, bright red and close to tears.
The whole experience made me go back to being quiet. It was safer that way. Nothing was worse than getting into trouble and being humiliated in front of everyone. I had brought it upon myself and it was my own fault. I stopped walking around with my teacher, I stopped participating in class. My break from being shy and anxious was so brief that no one probably realised it was over or that it had occurred at all.