Yesterday I had a bad day. Sixth grade music class starts after lunch, and I was again lunchless. My own fault, I slept late. So I flitted around my classroom, moving some things around and getting things ready for the upcoming class.
The bell rings and students bound into the classroom, drag into the classroom and finally squeeze past as I begin to shut the door after the tardy bell rings.
“Can we go to gym if we finish reading chapter 3?”
“No, we may not.”
“Oh I thought last class you said we could.”
“I would never agree to anyone skipping my class.”
Grumbling is heard from various students. We settled down in our reading area to dive into chapter 2 and 3 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s been slow going the last 2 weeks, 15 pages read in 4 class periods (90 minute periods). I wanted to get to Hagrid’s appearance before I passed out their acceptance letters. I had planned to hang them up like they were floating and let them leap up and get them (some PE type activity for you there!). Just a little magic fun. Then we could start the recorder aspect.
Maybe it wasn’t fast enough, maybe the day wasn’t going well for them but, 3 young men decided that day was the day they would try to get me fired.
I endured taunts, deprecating comments, attacks on my (music) class, comments about myself, suggestions of seeking other jobs, and general disrespect.
I thought, incorrectly it now seems, that the coordinator for students who take things too far (the ISS director at our school) was on a field trip.
So I endured until I couldn’t take it any longer, separating myself from that group I called the office for back up.
“We’re sending ___________ to come help, hang on.”
Okay. You can last 5 more minutes. I move the good ones up front and ask the other 3 to get their things and wait by the door. 25 minutes pass and the bell rings. They leave.
I was taunted for those 25 minutes- no remorse no “oh I should straighten up, someone’s coming down.” No fear, no regret just endless goading.
I quietly shut my door, after the class goes, I should have another class coming but, I know now there was a field trip that day. Even if I had 1 kid left on campus, I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I turn off the lights and go into my office where I wavered. I lost. I lost. They won that day. Chin up, chin up!
I call up to the office: “I just wanted to thank you all for that support you gave me as these students dehumanized and devalued me as a person.”
I hear almost a fish like mouth flapping in the other end. Me? Be so… ??? “Ah Ah Ms. Wils- Gillespie we can send someone now!”
“The bell rang, they’re gone. What you wanted me to keep them around and wait another 20 minutes or so?!”
I furiously start cleaning my office, throwing out old text books that I was told I could get rid of, but didn’t. I make giant piles in my classroom of things to toss. I ignore the intercom.
I see one textbook that didn’t make it out into the room yet, a 1998 version of a 5th grade music book- teaching CDs long gone, teacher manual lost to God knows where. I snap. I pick it up and start sobbing out incoherent things about why life shouldn’t be so hard, when is life going to start being good? I tear out the first 3 pages. Why do I try so hard? I tear out 6 more. Why do I let these hateful people get to me? I’m halfway through the book. Why do I live here? Why can’t I move to a place where basic human respect is upheld? Where parents teach their children adults should be shown basic respect? The book no longer has pages. The floor of my office has pages. Lots of pages.
I sit down at my computer and write the 3 students up. Fill out the form. Email the proper people, and I get up and clean some more, not really expecting to get a response. I’m supposed to call parents. I don’t think I can keep it together if I call parents. I’ve called these parents before. They say they’ll get on them about things. I don’t think I can hear that again today.
*bloop* email message- apparently the ISS teacher was here after all. Well damn. Damn, I didn’t have to go through that. But I did. Misinformed again. I didn’t even know about the field trip until this morning, why am I not surprised?
Questions fill the screen: “Why didn’t you?” “Couldn’t you?” “Call the office they will…” “Oh I see, I am sorry.” “Let’s have you speak with all 3 parents tomorrow.”
No. No. All three students and their parents tomorrow? No. No I’m not coming to school tomorrow.
“By all means come to school.”
Oh thank you, thank you for your blessing. No.
I go back to cleaning my office. My principal calls down, asking what’s going on. I don’t joke, I am not coming in tomorrow. I am getting ready for a sub. He sounds upset.
Keys in the door. Talk of how I’m excellent, how he can’t lose me, how I can’t let them win. They won. What do you mean they can’t win? They did.
Why didn’t I video tape it?
Who thinks “hmm I’m being harassed and trying to keep 7 other kids from these 3 and teach like nothing’s wrong, hmm better pull out my cellphone and document this!”
I thought someone was coming. I thought if I was calm and ignored them it would stop. They just wanted a reaction.
I sorry I wasn’t thinking of you, I called the office, no one came I assumed that meant the principal was not in.
Sorry I didn’t do enough for you.
I felt so battered, so physically ill, like I had be punched over and over again. I felt totally alone. I felt totally isolated.
I went home. I’ve been home. I posted about my rough day, not quite in this detail on Facebook. None of my friends, whom I have known for, at the least 6 years most 15, have called to say “Are you okay?” My aunt and a online friend who is very loyal and just, commented on my status. Said something lovey he did.
One person texted me, a lovely woman who teaches in my county too, and Saturday we are window shopping and getting lunch. I could cry at her generosity.
I could weep at the lack of others. That hurts about as much as the verbal beating I received yesterday. I’m not sure how I am proceeding with this knowledge. I don’t know.
I’m glad I gave myself a 3 day weekend. I will pull the battered bits together, put them back where they belong and keep going. 20 days till EOGs. (A month and two weeks ish till school is out)
(Sometimes when I post things, there are misunderstandings. Sometime crazy funny misunderstandings and sometimes not. I was upset none of my close friends saw my Facebook post and called me. What upset me was, I was asked to keep Facebook in order for my friends of 6 plus years to keep track of me and my family. Facebook proved that it is not a goodway to keep in touch with anyone. At all. They had no idea about my ordeal until WordPress emailed one of them this post. Talk about finding out too late. They read what I said and thought I was mad they weren’t on FB, which I can see my 3 AM ramblings could totally be taken that way. My frustrations showed through but instead of towards my lack of communication problems and isolation issues, people thought I was blaming them. Calling them out on their lack of love. This is not what I intended and I did not mean to hurt anyone. I was hurting but not about lack of love but lack of decient communication. Kind of like in my account actually. Please know friends I love and respect you all and know you love and respect me too. We all do our best to keep authentic and really on point with our feelings but, sometimes we lack the ability to focus those words into a message everyone understs. Please forgive me.)