The Secret Deafie: The day the teacher found out I wasn’t listening

Posted on June 3, 2013

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about an incident on the tube…

I got into a spot of bother with the teacher during my first year at school.

The teacher had made us gather and listen to a story just before lunch, and my energy levels were dropping.

We all gathered round, and listened to her read, and the story seemed to drag on for longer than normal. After the first page I was struggling. Her voice seemed to drone on and drop in volume, plus straining to hear was getting too much.

So mentally I switched off, and just pretended to be listening. It would be lunch soon, and we could all relax.

But when the story finished, to my surprise she asked everyone to draw a picture, and write about the story!

I nudged a friend for help, and attempted a variation on her picture. I wrote a couple of lines based on the best I could gather to be the gist of the story.

Aged five, I was attempting to ‘wing it’  in class!

I was in the queue to get my superbly vague and colourful contribution marked when the dinner lady arrived to escort us to the canteen. She waited for the teacher to finish.

When the teacher got to me, she asked me what I remembered of the story. I continued to attempt to “wing it” for a few brief seconds, then gave up.

She asked if I had listened to the story, and I felt it was time to confess that I hadn’t. She was flabbergasted and cross.

She made me wait with a few others who were too slow to finish, or had make unsatisfactory rushed jobs of it (they had lunch on their minds too I suspect). The dinner lady led the others to lunch, whilst she made the rest of us queue at the classroom door, and lectured us about concentrating and trying harder.

What she seemed to have forgotten is that around that time an ENT consultant thought I had glue ear. I had a grommet fitted the next year, but my hearing just gradually continued to worsen, and a more accurate diagnosis was given when I was 13.

Luckily, I did eventually get my lunch!

But I never forgot that day, when the teacher found out I wasn’t listening.

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