It really doesn’t. Just when I think all is done, C and D are taken care of, B did get his or her clarinet from that company (!), A’s parents decide to straight up buy his or her instrument (They wanted to buy!), something else happens!
I feel like whatever we try to prepare for or schedule, it gets tossed to the wind. I have not sat still for a second, I’ve met parents, typed reports, and had no time to just sit and plan lessons. That’s what planning is for, planning lessons! At least a day or two a week of straight planning!
Alas, that is not my fate. On Monday this week, I experienced another strange happening!
I was teaching my second class of the day, when the Advanced Intelligence Educator knocked on my door. I was certain she was there for a student. At the beginning of the year, the AIE teacher comes around testing students for high academic intelligence. My band students are often selected to participate in this enrichment service (brag, brag).
When she entered my room and clued me in on what was going on… Well, she wasn’t there for enrichment.
A student who was in my class the first week and a half of school (before the schedule was corrected), disrespected me. He or She said things about my person – looks, laugh, skin tone (being pale, not racist centered comments per say) – made fun of my accent, said class was stupid and the rules… (You get the idea.) I felt under fire, even harassed.
Students are welcome to hate music. Not everyone likes music, I totally understand. I don’t even mind hearing that and why. Maybe I can fix it, maybe not. I’ve learned kids can be cruel, and over all that doesn’t bother me. It’s when it’s constant, when the child talks whenever you open your moth and belittles and degrades you for 10 minutes plus. When you’ve been polite, asked them to stop, corrected their behavior and tried even redirecting towards the activity at hand….
So I wrote him or her up. Disrespect to an adult is an in school suspension for a day or two.
The principal actually gave the student a Code, 2 which means that the student may not return to school without a parent present for a conference. I was surprised because, one, my write-up was being dealt with swiftly, and two, I was involved in the meeting!
This dad was very protective of his student. I was wrong, they knew I wasn’t right (they never said the word lie) because the medicine made his student quiet. His student is respectful. His student was only defending himself or herself because I was ignoring the bullies in my class who were disrespecting him or her.
I just told it like it was, and the student even admitted they never told me they were being bullied in my class. The student admitted I had separated them from the class to keep him or her from talking while I was talking. As for the personal remarks against me – never addressed.
Someone in the administrative process added to my write-up. They added fighting. Because I never witnessed fighting, I refused to speculate or address that issue. I didn’t understand why my write-up was changed either.
Now, yesterday, Monday-back to the present, and my suddenly class interruption.
I was summoned to the principal’s office and luckily the teacher watching my class had some information for me, it was that same student, both parents, the principal and the Assistant Superintendent.
I walk in and I see it on dad’s face: It’s on.
I am asked to tell my side of the story, and I do. Then dad says I’m wrong. Dad said that wasn’t my problem, the disrespect, in fact I was feeling harassed by his darling angel, who kept coming up to my desk and complaining of being bullied. That was my complaint, I was being bothered by his or her need for help. Did I not write-up their child because I didn’t want to deal with the bullying problem? The bullying problem annoyed me, and was punishing him or her for reporting it.
I disagreed. That’s not what happened. I don’t physically have a desk in my classroom, for starters. It’s in the storage room. Locked storage room. I’m super selfish. I turn out the lights and hide with all the broken instruments. Really, it’s safer there.
I always address bullying. I wanted to kill myself in middle school. Partly due to home life and partly due to bullying. I take bullying seriously. Obviously, I didn’t tell them why I do, just that I do take all bullying accounts seriously. I also reminded dad that student didn’t say a word about bullying until the first meeting.
I went from a teacher at my school to, “That Woman,” 2 seconds after I finished correcting misconceptions. Every other word, “That Woman” is wrong, “That Woman,” is lying.
Desperation definitely crept into his voice, with every utterance and pointed gesture.
I will endure a great many things from students and parents. I have, and I understand that where I live I am in the minority and a hated minority at that. I suppose you can argue, that finally, Caucasians are finding out what it feels like.
Considering that my grandfather is considered “colored,” it colors my perceptions of other people’s skin tones. It colors my perceptions as in, I respect everybody because I’ve heard and seen how it has affected him. (I am Of Osage descent)
However, just like in grade school, (when they told my mother that we could not mark Native American on our tests because we just look really white) a lot of parents and students look at me and see a color.
I have been referred to as “That Woman,” in meetings because my skin color strips me of my name and even sex (being female). It just does. But just like other people dislike being disrespected in that way, I do as well.
So I guess it was no surprise that I stopped the entire meeting to turn to dad and say, “Excuse me sir, my name is Mrs. Gillespie. My name is not, “That Woman.”
Dad was not expecting that, and sputtered out that he didn’t know what my name was, and he doesn’t know what else to call me, and La la la la la. (He could’ve called me teacher, educator, the teacher of my student, ma’am …)
He lost all of his momentum, and I just turned to the assistant superintendent and asked if I could get back to class. I was given a glorious smile and released back into the world.
But, it puzzled me. Why was I being questioned again about the same situation? So I thought about it, and questioned a few of the student’s teachers and came to a conclusion.
The student, brought a weapon to school last week.
The weapon was one that could’ve done harm to a young person, and was taken out during an elective class.
It is my opinion, that the parents have come to place doubt in the mind of our officials. They are probably trying to make a case, that this child felt they had no choice but to react with violence towards any negative student. This would be of course, due to the teachers lack of protection from bullying.
Now, I do believe this child has been bullied. However I also believe that he or she has bullied. Not only because I have been bullied by this child , but also because of other telling attitudes and actions I have noticed in my classroom.
Either way, in my opinion, any child bringing a weapon for any reason to school and pulling said weapon out and intending to used it another; this student has no excuse.
It is just, completely wrong. It may not be a specific person’s fault but in the end, the child made the choice to bring a weapon and that choice and that action should be addressed.
This is probably why I am not a principal. Or anyone else of high authority.
It’s been a long week already and it’s Tuesday.