What you experience early in life can make a great impact the way you perceive things as you grow. In the short stories Long, Long, After School written by Ernest Buckler, and A Teacher’s Reward written by Robert Philips, both show how discrimination and prejudice can shape an individual later in life. In Long, Long, After School, a little African American boy named Wes deals with racism every day when he goes to school. Despite the bullying, his teacher, Ms. Trethewey, never fails to stand up for him when a classmate decides to tease Wes. Whereas, the short story A Teacher’s Reward written by Robert Phillips, Raybe was an outcast. Not only is he bullied by his classmates, but also being verbally and physically abused by his teacher. This of which lead Raybe in becoming a criminal and getting revenge. As shown in both stories, growing up being vulnerable to this kind of treatment can affect how one grow as a person.
Discrimination can be introduced to you in any time in your life. in Long, Long, After School, he was consistently made fun of because of his skin color. His classmates would “look at [him] and say ‘Shhh…Wes is blushing’” (Buckler 50). It never mentions the color of his skin, based on the text, it can be suspected that he is black. When it was time for a class activity, A girl would not hold his hands during the activity it was “dirty” (Buckler 50). It was not because his hands were dirty. It implies the color of his skin. Likewise, Raybe in A Teacher’s Reward, he was brought up in a family that was not as fortunate as the other kids at school. As a result, Raybe was judged by his peers because his “aunt [could not] keep [Raybe] in clean [clothes]” which did not appeal to the eye of everyone in the school (Philips 386). Raybe was perceived to be an outcast, “other kids [leave] [him] out of things”; he was perceived to be weird and a troublemaker (Philips 365). These experiences greatly impacted Raybe mentally because he had no one there for him. This of which lead him to pay a visit to his teacher to “clear the air.” In both stories, Wes and Raybe dealt with discrimination early on in their lives and no one was willing to get to know who they are as a person, rather, they made their judgment based on how they appear to the world.
Having someone to look up to is important because it makes you want to become the better version of yourself. Everyone is introduced to teachers at a very young age and it can easily make an impact in your life. However, they can either negatively or positively make an impact on your life. Wes gains a connection with Ms. Trethewey, as he constantly thought “she was so beautiful” because she was not just a teacher, she was a friend to Wes. Ms. Trethewey never let any get away with bullying and racism toward anyone but especially Wes. She was a role model. Wes never let his classmates bother him or get in the way of school because he knew he had Ms. Trethewey there to support him and help him stand up to the kids. On the opposite end, Raybe did not have a role model as Wes did. He was surrounded by people judging him and making fun of him based on how he looks not him as a person. His teacher, Miss. Scofield, would “[pick] on [him] all the time”, which “made [Raybe] [feel] worse out than [he] was [and] [she] never gave him that chance the others had” (Philips 386). The first time she had seen Raybe, she immediately thought “[he] was no good to start with” (Phillips 385. Not only did she make assumptions, but she would also call him names like “Baby-Raybe” (Phillips 381). Having a good source of motivation is crucial in school. Teachers should be there to motivate the students to do good in school, provide a support system for them to want to make improvements, and be a mentor for their life. Because Raybe did not have a role model or a mentor growing up, he became a criminal as an adult. Teachers are crucial to the way a student grow as a person. When someone who is supposed to be a mentor, it can easily make a huge influence on the individual and the way they will view themselves as a person.
Having good instincts can help with the decisions made on a day to day basis. Despite that fact that Wes was being bullied and teased every day by his peers, he did not let that affect how he does in school. Wes is hardworking, intelligent, and strong. With these qualities and the support from Ms. Trethewey, he was able to overlook all the teasing and bullying. For him to be stronger he decided that he “[would] study harder than anyone” (Buckler 51). From this, he gained the title best all-around student because of his hard work and efforts. It never mattered to Wes whether he had friends or not, he was willing to do everything and anything to achieve all the things he wants. However, Raybe was the opposite. He did let the bullying get in the way of his everyday tasks and became what everyone thought he was. Consider the fact that his aunt “did the best she could do without money”, he was never seen asking for help and talking to someone about what he is going through at school (Philips 386). Because of the environment, he was grown up from, he never got the chance to become someone like Wes. Instead, he became this bitter person who was focused on getting revenge on Miss. Scofield one day. In order for you to grow as a person, making good life decisions is important because it reflects how you will turn out to be in the future.
One’s childhood can depict how you will grow and be as a person in your adult life. As shown in both short stories, Long, Long, After School and A Teacher’s Reward, Wes and Raybe are shown to be heavily affected by society’s discrimination and bullying. However, as a child, you are vulnerable to being easily influenced by the environment and people around you. Teachers are responsible to make the environment a safe place for kids to learn and develop qualities of themselves that is useful in the future. it should not be a place where you cannot tell the difference between a teacher your peers. From this, they take home the things the saw, heard and experienced that can affect the person they will become one day.