I started in a new college, switching from the French system to the English system. I could do so because my dad had gone to English school. After I submitted my first homework assignment in English class and received 0% for my work, I went to the teacher and asked for an explanation. I can understand getting a bad mark, but 0% seems a bit extreme.

The teacher replied that if I wanted better grades I shouldn’t pay someone to do my homework. My jaw dropped to the floor in shock. Really?! I assured him that I wrote the text myself and he replied that I was lying. “A French girl can’t write that well in English.”

Upon hearing his words I became mad and insulted. He was making wrong assumptions about me based on nothing but my first spoken language. He didn’t know anything about me, other than my French name.

tutor-606091_1920I offered the teacher to write a brand new play in front of him and asked that he judge my grade on what I would produce. He conceded and I got, to his surprise, 95%. I then proceeded in asking to transfer teachers. I couldn’t stay under a figure of authority who judged a student on preconceived beliefs.

A year later, I was approached by another student who faced the same issue with the same teacher. He hadn’t learned from his mistake. She was going in front of the review board and asked that I testify. I did. I hadn’t made an official complaint when it had happened to me because I had found my own way out, but when asked for help, I wasn’t going to turn a blind eye either. The teacher lost his job. Turns out that many years later, I would work with his niece and she confirmed that he had dementia and it was more than time for him to retire.

“The true problem with making these assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking-we take it personally-then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make assumptions; we misunderstand, and end up creating a whole big drama for nothing” – Don Miguel Ruiz