I’ve been going to school for a year and a half. At 55, it’s not easy. I share a class with 18 year old kids. I’m older than the teachers and most of the staff, including the principal. My life and work experience is not taken into consideration. The teachers and the principal actually roll their eyes when I mention my 20+ years experience. They tell me I work too fast… hmm that’s experience working with deadlines 30-40 projects at a time, not just one.

I’ve been unsure about school since I started, it’s not going well. I’ve been taking notes about everything that’s happening, because honestly, this feels like war. I did win a little battle with my Halloween project however, one of the best in class! That must have upset the staff.

A few weeks ago, I failed an exam. I also failed the make-up exam. So the social worker and the principal met with me. The principal told me to keep a pokerface in class and to keep my mouth shut. They told me that they have decided not to kick me out of school; that I was lucky they were giving me a chance. Really? They’ve decided to let me redo the exam next April, before the internship. If I fail again, I won’t be allowed to go to the internship and I will not get my diploma. Talk about added stress!

The school projects given by one of the teachers are all about cartoon characters, Lego’s and sports. Nothing that I would put into my portfolio. So yes, I verbally share my disappointment. I don’t feel respected at all. I feel watched and hunted. For example, last week, while two of the teachers were talking about our next assignment, I was taking notes. I even shared my notes with the girls in class. The next day, the social worker wanted to meet with me because the teachers told her I was reading a book during class! WTF? Will they get off my back?

I spent over an hour on the phone with my agent at Services Quebec last week. She says I’m keeping my end of the deal which is: showing up in class every day, never late, etc. They have no problem with me. However, my mental health is taking a beating. I don’t know how to act or not act, what to say or not say, what to do or not do. It seems no matter what, I am attacked personally by the teachers.

After telling this story to my friend, she said “Oh there you go shining your light again!” I guess I shine so bright that I light up the dark corners of some peoples egos. My mom always says: courage, will and perseverance! I will stick around even though I’m upset, shattered, in pieces. One day at a time.

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