I’m attempting to infuse “I know a bank” into my classroom lessons. It is difficult because currently we were required to do other things. I have been more diligent with weaving the Shakespearean lines into my second period class than my first. I didn’t think much of it. I’m realising that it has caused tension […]
(Sorry I am late to posting some drafts. This is from 19 April)
Yesterday, I had to attend a suspension hearing. This is not a fun process for a teacher. Despite what some students might think, we do not take pleasure from this aspect of the job. It is really not nice and can be emotionally draining.
When we went into the room, the student up for suspension was on her phone with her earbuds in. While the appointed ‘judge’ was addressing all of us, she sat on her phone. He asked us to put all phones on silent and away. She reluctantly put her headphones away but left her phone on the table and continued to use it. I was not surprised but disheartened by her inability to see the importance for respect to the situation.
But that seems to be the normal now. My views on common courtesy, manners, professionalism, and respect are antiquated. Shame as I am not that old. Or am I? Hmm a reflection for another time perhaps.
At any rate, during a suspension hearing, I am asked to give my statement in addition to the written statement that was turned in immediately after the incident. I am instructed to speak clearly and directly to the adjudicator. The parent of the child is allowed to ask me questions. It is a nerve wracking moment. I have only been to one other of these and the parent or representative of the child in both cases does not approach with a level of decorum and professionalism. Its emotionally charged, accusatory, and volatile. The parent repeatedly tried to poke holes in my statement in the most ridiculous manner. It was clear that she refused to accept responsibility for her child and also watches perhaps too many TV court shows. At the end when the adjudicator shut her down many times for inappropriate comments and no logical questions, she blurted out that I really threw her daughter into a wall. Her final defense was that her daughter could not have thrown a book at me as she has been to our school and “there are NO books in our library.”
Imagine how difficult it was to sit there and listen to that and NOT show any expression in my face. Really? That is your final statement? There are no books in our library? To anyone out there reading this, I assure you there are MANY books in our library. Thus we call it a LIBRARY.
In twenty four hours I have had a couple of tense interactions with teenagers that left me feeling sad, lost and defeated. Yesterday a young girl was hostile with our school Librarian. She wanted entrance into the Library, however she was denied. It was not her lunch period and she was cutting class. She was rude and defiant to the Librarian. I was attempting to leave the Library but stayed back to assist with the traffic at the door. Just then another male student who continues to harass the Librarian tried to enter. It was the third time in two periods he had been there to fight with her. She got upset so I asked the kids at the door to wait. This young girl pushes past me laughing. She ran into my hand/arm and i held her jacket as I was spun around. I dropped my arm and she started to scream at me. Eventually she left but not before throwing a book at me. The entire time I remained calm hands behind my back and soothing voice.
A colleague referred to her as out of control and entitled. She has just come back from suspension because she punched a teacher.
This morning a young man stopped me in the hall to tell me “I owe him a reward.”
No introduction, no good morning or hello. He simply said, “You owe me. You owe me a reward.” Last year he returned my phone. There is a confusing story as to how he ended up with it. He has yet to give me his name or even be kind in his approach. It is exhausting, I want to go back and try to find him in the hallway and explain a better way we could have or continue to communicate. Yet there is a part of me that wants to let it go and move on.
We are getting down to the end of another marking period. Spring break is weeks away. I teach Seniors so that means after Spring Break, I won’t get much out of them. It is unfortunate but true. It wouldn’t be so bad but they don’t do much all year.
There is a lot of stress in our school right now. Quality Review happens next week. We are a “Renewal” School. We are bracing for another round of excessing. Tensions are high and compassion is low.
I had a difficult day yesterday. I didn’t handle it in the best way. However, as the day trudged on I was reminded of a new goal I set with my therapist. I am working on re-prioritising my life. My work life and all the good/bad that goes with it has to be lower on the list of priorities. Much Lower.
I can still do my job and do it well. It is imperative that I have better perspective on what I give myself to and what I allow to dominate my thoughts and happiness. It cannot be this job. And so I begin again to put this into action. I am letting go of things I cannot change. I am putting out there what I need/want and letting the Universe take over.
Some of the immediate things that have occurred; time is more fluid; I am listening more; I feel like I am able to talk with students and move on without worrying about how the information is received. This is huge. I did not feel the pressure of all that needs to be done by today, this week, this year. I decided to simply “be” here for them and then float on to the next moment. I have moved a picture of my kids to more obvious and important places. Places where I will see them throughout my day to keep me grounded in what IS truly important. I am attempting to keep my tone and vernacular more consistent with how I want to talk with my family or how I want the world to talk with me.