Childhood is the building blocks for your whole life, having a good upbringing will usually lead you in the right direction along with a strong core of morals, but on the other side having a childhood that was rough could lead you down the wrong path. The characters Wes from “Long Long After School,” by Ernest Buckler and Raybe from “A Teacher’s Rewards,” by Robert Phillips, their teachers were the ones to change lives; for better and for worse. In the short stories, Long Long After School by Ernest Buckler, and A Teacher’s Rewards by Robert Phillips, adolescents from both narratives are exposed to injustice and discrimination, which shaped how they turned out later in life. In Long Long After School, a young man named Wes faces racism from his classmates and becomes resentful towards the people around him. Thankfully, he is saved by his teacher Ms. Trethewey, who is very supportive and sympathetic. Wes and Raybe are excellent examples, as a matter of the fact that either way a person is treated when the development of childhood and how they overcome their difficulties from a young age define what kind of person they are as an adult.
Raybe and Wes both suffered a great deal of pain in their childhood for being different; though, both deal with this bullying in very different manners. Raybe was loathed by his classmates because he was dirty, poorly dressed and didn’t fit in with the other kids at school. When Raybe goes to his old teacher’s house and confronts her, he says “always told me I was dirty just because my aunt couldn’t keep me in clean shirts like some of the others” (Phillips 386). Wes was also very disliked in his town as Wes was picked on because the color of his skin and because of that he wasn’t trusted by the townspeople. As pointed out by the storyteller, “Wes’ privacy seemed to be everyone’s property” (Buckler 49). In both of these events, these assumptions made against Wes and Raybe shapes them; however, with these experiences Wes and Raybe handled it in two completely different ways. The development of a child is also dependent on their
mental stability and strength. When a child is faced with a problem the child looks up to adults that they trust and respect to help them with the problems they face. Raybe was not able to overcome the problems he had, he let the bullies get to him emotionally and let it get to him in a negative manner. Though, with Wes, he chooses to be the bigger person and keep on doing the best he could. Both Wes and Raybe went through hardships from being the outsiders, though they deal with it in very different ways.
You are put in situations every day that you need to know how to handle. Wes was being bullied from his classmate’s day by day; though, he did not let that effect how he does in school. Ms. Trethewey, he was able to overlook all the teasing and bullying and see the parts of him that matter like how he was a hardworking, intelligent, and strong student. With these qualities and the support from his teacher made him even stronger. Having this support from a teacher that he never had before, he was able to get the title of best all-around student because of his hard work and efforts. To Wes, the only thing he needed was a supporter to tell him and prove to him that he can do it. Nevertheless, Raybe was the total opposite. Raybe let the bullying get to him and from there he heard what the bullies were saying and believed just that. The fact that his aunt “did the best she could do without money”, Raybe was never noted to show and talk about the difficulties he was having (Philips 386). From the environment, that Raybe grew up in, he never got the chance to become someone like Wes. Alternatively, he became a resentful person who’s only focus was getting revenge on Ms. Scofield later on in life. Growing up not knowing how to handle situations properly you will be put in positions like Raybe that leads you down the wrong path later on in life.
Teachers are our role models growing up, all through school we look up to them, depending on them to teach us and prepare us for life after school. Just like in the short stories, Wes and Raybes teachers played a major role in their lives. Raybe’s teacher Ms. Scofield had a different teaching and discipline style. She would wrap Raybes knuckles in front of the whole class while all the other students laughed and found it entertaining, because of this he was disliked and rejected in elementary school and that followed him through to high school and from there he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. If Ms. Scofield cared for and disciplined Raybe in the right manner, he would not have gone down the wrong path. Wes teacher Ms. Tretheway, was a woman that no one deemed to think was beautiful or interesting. Ms. Tretheway was the game changer for Wes, as she was the one that changed his childhood completely. When girls would say that “Wes’ hands are dirty” and they wouldn’t play with him, Ms. Tretheway made them evaluate the choices they were making (Buckler 49). Ms. Tretheway’s concern towards Wes taught him to compassionate and considerate to others. Raybe went through so much bullying and mistreatment that he didn’t get a chance at a good childhood and weakened his possibility of a good life after school. His circumstances could have entirety changed if Ms. Scofield was there from him like Ms. Tretheway was there for Wes. If the skills Mr. Tretheway taught Wes got passed down to Raybe got the same experiences as Wes with a teacher that cared and helped him, he wouldn’t have gone down the wrong path and could have had a good life.
The things we face as children affect whom we become as adults. As shown in the stories Long, Long After School and A Teachers Rewards, Wes and Raybe both are affected by bullying and a teacher’s influence. Going through the same bullying and discrimination. The only difference was the role the teacher played in the student’s lives that truly affected their future.