This was written by a colleague about bullying by a schoolteacher …. It moved me to tears. I am glad to say he got rid of his Mr Shine and now helps others to do the same …
When I was young I had an English teacher called Mr Shine.
Mr Shine was very big.
Mr Shine was very loud.
Mr Shine was very powerful.
Mr Shine never had any trouble.
Mr Shine was somebody that you just didn’t cross.
Mr Shine was a god and you just didn’t know what he was capable of; you just knew that he could destroy you.
So imagine the scene; the class of thirteen year olds sit in absolute silence, their heads down, the only sound the sounds of their fountain pens on the paper of their exercise books as they set about the task of writing the essay that Mr Shine had set earlier.
Mr Shine sits at the front of the class behind his desk and I stand facing him as he reads and marks my essay from last week… in silence.
“What does gullible mean boy?” asked Mr Shine. The class quietly listens; to every word. I’m sure that even the sound of the pens stops. You really could have heard the sound of a pin drop.
I am terrified; my mind has gone completely blank, but I instinctively know that I stand next to destruction.
I stay silent.
“It means easily taken in boy.” He pauses. Maybe it’s over.
“What does easily taken in mean boy?” he asks.
My mind remains blank but I know that I have to speak.
“It means gullible sir” I offer meekly.
Mr Shine is incandescent with rage. “Don’t you try to make a fool of me boy! I’ll teach you what happens when you try to do that to me!”
I cringe, the class cringes, and each and every child thanks God that it isn’t them.
I am destroyed. I want to run away but I am rooted to the spot. Such is the power of repression that I can remember no more of Mr Shine’s extended diatribe.
I am humiliated. I am ashamed.
In a few moments Mr Shine taught me something about myself that stayed with me for the next thirty years.
He taught me that I can’t write an essay to save my life. He taught me always to remain silent when I worked in groups. He taught me to hesitate. He taught me never to speak unless I was certain. And it didn’t seem to matter how well I did subsequently, or how many distinctions I got, because both Mr Shine and I knew the truth. He taught me that I was stupid.
Thank you Mr Shine.
Of course, now and with the wisdom of years, I realise that Mr Shine was the stupid one. Now I realise that Mr Shine was the one that should’ve stayed silent, not me. Now I know that Mr Shine was a bad and a lazy teacher who relied on his ability to intimidate to motivate rather than any ability to nurture, to inspire or to engage imagination. Forgive me lest I offend your ears, but Mr Shine was a tosser.
But then I was only thirteen and I didn’t know any better; because the teacher god had spoken; so it must’ve been true.
It took me a long time to find my Mr Shine; and make friends with him; and let him go.
Now I don’t blame Mr Shine; because he had a Mr Shine too.
Most of us have a Mr Shine or a Mrs Shine, maybe more than one.
Sometimes they teach us; sometimes they parent us; sometimes they marry us; sometimes they bully us; sometimes they don’t exist, they’re just a thought or a way of thinking or an experience. Sometimes Mr Shine stands right in front of us and glares in our face; more often he hides away quietly making sure that we follow his rules. You might have met him 35 years ago or yesterday. Mr Shine can take many forms but he always teaches us something that limits or dis-empowers us.
I think of a child learning to walk. Does she turn her back on the challenge or give up after a few falls? Does she contemplate failure? No, she persists and she considers only success. And can you imagine that feeling of elation that she has when she takes those first independent steps of her new life?
Confidence is not something that we have to achieve; it is something that we are born with.
But Mr Shine takes it away.
Do what do I do? I help people find their Mr Shines … and let them go.
Bob Dixon, DHP (Mnemodynamic therapist & Counsellor) is at: Actualising People Website
This is the preface of “The Mnemodynamic Practitioner Manual – An Aid to Every Therapist” is available from email@example.com