OUT OF THE FIELDS
My Journey From Farmworker Boy To Pediatrician
Book Excerpt from the Inspiring Story of Ramon Resa, MD:
Excerpt #4 of 17
RAMON RESA’S CLASSMATES BULLY HIM BECAUSE HE STUTTERS…HE EXPERIENCES INTENSE SHAME WHEN CALLED ON…
When I’m in third grade, they decide I have a speech impediment and I’m assigned to speech therapy. I hate it. The only kids who go to therapy are dummies. When I’m called out of my classroom for my sessions, I hear the other kids snickering. The speech therapist is a nice lady, but I’m mad and embarrassed to be there. I sulk and refuse to do any of the exercises.
Week after week, I have to go back. Everyone else makes fun of those of us who need to see the therapist. I think the other kids who go with me are real dummies and that I shouldn’t be included with them because they can’t read or write but I can. The teachers tell me speech therapy is for my own good, but I don’t believe them. I’m just mad for being singled out like this.
I don’t get any better, and I stutter more and more as time goes on. The more nervous I get, the worse my stutter gets. They finally quit making me go since I’m not getting better. I learn to sit at the back of the class, and I make myself as small as possible so I’m not called on. I like school and I like to study and know stuff, but I live in fear of getting called on in class.
“Raymond, will you tell the class what the answer is?” Mrs. Wheeler demands.
I mumble the answer.
“I didn’t understand you,” she says.
I try again, but in my anxiety I stutter more.
“I still don’t understand you,” she tells me. The other students snicker and laugh.
“Be quiet!” she tells them. “Raymond, take your time and tell me the answer. I know you know it.”
By this time, I’m red in the face and so ashamed that all I can think about is sitting down or hiding. For some reason, she continues to hound me, and it seems like hours before I’m able to give her an answer and sit down. I keep my head averted and refuse to look at anyone. I know they’re all looking at me and smirking, and I’ll have to listen to them taunting me at recess. I can try to avoid this by not going outside, but we’re required to have recess. As soon as we’re allowed out, I run to the farthest corner of the playground. I sit by myself and let my shame run over me.