Almost there

12.5.10


#3 was my shadow. After school she stayed to help me sweep the floors or clean the chalkboard. At recess I sometimes had to urge her to go play since she seemed content to just stand next to me. I never expected to have this kind of student. I was both flattered and a little confused since I tried not to favor any child over another. Therefore her affection seemed unfounded.

She was quiet and the middle child between a handful-of-an-older brother and an adorable little sister in kindergarten. I learned long ago it’s the quiet ones that see the most and I imagined #3 saw a lot of what was going on.

There were unusual times when she was chatty. Mrs. Three told me that at home she was chatty but often children act differently at school than they do at home. But just because she was quiet didn’t mean that she didn’t raise her hand to speak her mind or answer a question.

Her mom and I had an odd relationship. Mrs. Rabbit had #3’s older brother in her class and was intimidated by her. I was not intimidated by Mrs. Three. I didn’t see the point, although she did give me quite a fright one time.

Number 3’s older brother and his friend were terrorizing my girls on the playground. When my girls came to me to complain I marched over to those boys, leaned down and hissed between teeth, “Don’t go near my girls. Or else I’ll make you pay for it.”

Well, after school #3’s older brother told his mom that Miss Cox had scared the brown monster out of him today. She called a meeting and we had a talk. I apologized for threatening her son (oops?) and apologized to him as soon as I got the chance. I knew I came on strong but I was like a mother bear. I didn’t know what came over me. He didn’t strike me as the tattletale type either so I knew I took my adult powers too far.

I wonder if some of my class parents saw me like #3’s older brother – a confusing handful.

Interestingly I found a card from #3’s mother in my office mailbox the next day. It said something like she’s really glad we talked and was proud that I admitted I was wrong and apologized. After that we got along or so it seemed.

I was sitting in the school office while my class was in Spanish when she walked in, “Oh hi, Miss Cox. Taking a break, eh?”

“Yeah. How you doing?”

“Oh fine. . .Hey, I was just going to get some coffee, would you like to join me? I’d really like to talk to you.”

“Sure.”

As we walked to a nearby café, she made small talk. I wondered what she could possibly want to talk to me about. After we ordered our drinks and sat down she finally spoke her mind, “I just wanted to say, I’m sorry that you’re leaving.”

I took a deep breath, “Thanks.”

“My daughter is going to miss you. She loves you so much.”

Then Mrs. Three started to cry. I was surprised by this display of emotion. She’s a tough, no nonsense individual.

I stared at her with intensity as she continued, “My God, if she ever found out. I’m so sorry Lani. I never should have said anything . . . Oh, God what have I done? I never thought . . . I never wanted you to get . . . I mean, not really. . .”

I placed my hands over hers, “It’s okay, really, it’s okay.”

My mind darted like a ping pong trying to make sense of it all. I never imagined she was one of the parents talking behind my back. If we all knew #3 adored me, why did she go talk to the Core Group?

Mrs. Three dabbed her eyes, “I could say something – on your behalf if you’d like. Tell them I was wrong.”

I smiled at her, a sad smile, a gentle smile, “It’s okay. I’m tired of fighting.”

“I’m so sorry,” She made an effort to look at me then, “I’m sorry Lani.”

I looked at her, still confused, “It’s okay.”

***

During the last few months of school, after I had finally let go of the bloated balloon carrying all my inflated fears and doubts, all the noise became a song, and I enjoyed my time with the children. Once I had stopped holding the faculty and parents in contempt they started to do the same to me. Or maybe once I stopped caring about their opinion they suddenly had a better one.

It was strange that people were finally taking notice of my inner tenacity and care towards my class. There was a little ego satisfaction in knowing I had risen above my bleak circumstances. The faculty expected the worst from me because that was all they ever chose to see. I think they thought since I had a few more months to teach, they were going to see me slacking off, sulking or slithering around stirring up trouble. Instead I acted the same, if anything I held my head higher. They had done their worst. My reputation was ruined. But I felt free and at peace. At least as much as I could be.

“You’ve made people turn around, Lani.” Mrs. Squirrel said to me one day, “They’re second guessing their decision.”

Another person I discovered who was involved in firing me was #14’s husband who was on the Board of Directors.

Mrs. Bear told me, “He said you must not really want to teach since you’re not fighting for your job.”
I was wiping down the desks. I think she thought she was being helpful by informing me of the going-ons but every scrap of news she served just further hurt and confuse me. “Could you please not tell me these things anymore?”

She shrugged, “I just thought you would want to know.” She started to walk out of my room, “I’m not sure why you’re not fighting their decision.”

It was interesting that everyone expected me to contest the decision. These expectations took the responsibility and the action of the Core Group out of their hands and placed it in mine. Psychologically I found this to be a telltale sign of their guilt and indecisiveness. But I knew by fighting their decision, I would be continuing to play some sort of power struggle and I didn’t get into teaching to play at politics. A definition of insanity could be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I stared at Mrs. Bear’s retreating back and then moved to close my classroom door.

During the last few months of school, after I had finally let go of the bloated balloon carrying all my inflated fears and doubts, the noise became a song, and I enjoyed my time with the children. Once I had stopped holding the faculty and parents in contempt they started to do the same to me. Or maybe once I stopped caring about their opinion they suddenly had a better one.

It was strange that people were finally taking notice of my inner tenacity and care towards my class. There was a little ego satisfaction in knowing I had risen above my bleak circumstances. The faculty expected the worst from me because that was all they ever chose to see. I think they thought since I had a few more months to teach, they were going to see me slacking off, sulking or slithering around stirring up trouble. Instead I acted the same, if anything I held my head higher. They had done their worst. My reputation was ruined. But I felt free and at peace. At least as much as I could be.

“You’ve made people turn around, Lani.” Mrs. Squirrel said to me one day, “They’re second guessing their decision.”

Another person I discovered who was involved in firing me was #14’s husband who was on the Board of Directors.

Mrs. Bear told me, “He said you must not really want to teach since you’re not fighting for your job.”
I was wiping down the desks. I think she thought she was being helpful by informing me of the going-ons but every scrap of news she served just further hurt and confuse me. “Could you please not tell me these things anymore?”

She shrugged, “I just thought you would want to know.” She started to walk out of my room, “I’m not sure why you’re not fighting their decision.”

It was interesting that everyone expected me to contest the decision. These expectations took the responsibility and the action of the Core Group out of their hands and placed it in mine. Psychologically I found this to be a telltale sign of their guilt and indecisiveness. But I knew by fighting their decision, I would be continuing to play some sort of power struggle and I didn’t get into teaching to play at politics. A definition of insanity could be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I stared at Mrs. Bear’s retreating back and then moved to close my classroom door.

You Might Also Like

0 comments