Sunday, April 13, 2014

That Did Not Just Happen

I am a teacher's assistant. I was offered the lead teacher job, but I hate being in charge and after all the years at the children's theater and all the drama, I decided I wanted to spend some time just being in a support position. Yes, it is a lot less money, but it has allowed me so much more personal time and happiness.

That being said, one of my class parents is extremely unhappy and has been speaking to anyone in the community who will listen about how much he dislikes his son's circumstances. That is about all I feel comfortable saying, except this man holds some power in my community and at the school.

He has been downright mean to my lead teacher. It sent me mentally flying back to all I endured during the time that shall not be mentioned. So much so that I had to physically force myself to stay uninvolved. I am just the assistant. I don't get paid to get abused by parents. (Isn't it sad that teachers are expected to take some abuse from parents?)

But I have also been spending a lot of time trying to teach my students to take responsibility for themselves, to stop making excuses. They are struggling to grasp the concept that at a Montessori school there is no punishment for not getting an answer right, but that they need to persevere until they do get the right answer. I spend hours each week telling kids that I can't give them all the answers and they have to do the work themselves. And then I have kids whose parents think they never do anything wrong. One of my kids hid outside of the room and when I found him, he was trying to destroy school property. When the lead teacher contacted the parents, they indicated he would never do that and I must have it out for him.

Everything just kind of came to a head this week and I needed to vent some so I posted this on my FB page:

"Sometimes I feel as if we have all forgotten how to be kind, how to listen, how to accept responsibility, how to say "I am sorry." Too many excuses and accusations in the world."

You can imagine my surprise when I received a private message on FB from a former CountryTime theater parent. This parent tried to get me fired for not sticking around after one of her son's shows with another theater company. She was mad that I didn't gush over him even though I had a migraine and had to leave. She actually called my boss and tried to get me fired. This was her message:

"Muddy, with your last post being said... I really owe you an apology and I need to let you know what an amazing teacher and mentor you were to (son). I know all of us got caught up in all the "drama" at the end before you guys left (no pun intended) but he learned so much from you and The Theater will never have another teacher like you. Your help and all that he learned, I feel helped him to get where he's at. Thanks so much and again I'm sorry!"

Now you would think this would have evoked some strong emotion in me, but it didn't. There was so little emotion, in fact, that I thought maybe something was wrong with me. I just didn't care anymore. Those people have no power over me. I didn't know what to do. Part of me wanted to just ignore the message. After all, I owe her nothing. Part of me thought I needed to respond so that she couldn't tell everyone in CountryTime what I bitch I was for ignoring her. But the real part of me realized I needed to make some comment. If I didn't, I would be giving her power. I would always be expecting some nasty email or I would think of it from time to time and it would be like a little splinter stuck in my toe. Something that would eventually disappear, but would rub me the wrong way whenever something touched it. So this is what I responded:

"I appreciate your apology, but it is all in the past and was forgiven a long time ago. Your son is a talent in himself and I know that he will succeed if he stays on his path. I am just happy I got to play a small part in his development."

Short and to the point. I didn't engage, I didn't provoke, I just accepted and moved on. It is hard for me to believe that I may really HAVE moved on. Maybe it was all just a bad dream.

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