When a person decides to become an educator/ teacher, they go into the profession hoping to help shape and mold the best adults for the future. Just think about it, we have a hand in every profession and career. Little did we know that our job requires so many titles without the training and certifications. We become the Mother, Father, Nurse, Doctor, Psychologist, Chef, Protector, Shopper, Beautician, Counselor, Tutor, Aunt, Uncle, Advocate, and more. What many parents do not understand is that not all teachers are “awful” teachers. I will not deny that just like with any profession, there are a few rotten apples in every batch.
All we ask of our parents are for them to meet us halfway. They do not have a clue what concerns, fears, or hurt the students share with us on a vulnerable day. Ninety-five percent of the time, we do not say anything about what is shared with us by a student, unless it is something legally binding we need to report to the state, police, parent, principal, or counselor.
Due to parents selling their EBT Cards, I had spent plenty of mornings at school before starting the official school day combing hair, making snack bags to ensure my students have food for the weekend. Because I knew they like the same teams/games to work on projects, I was sitting rival gang members next to one another; they ended up becoming like brothers or sisters. I was calling a parent who was having personal issues. I called to give a great update on a student to encourage the parent. It was not anything great the student did, but the student was concerned about their mom and dad and wanted something, just anything to make their parent feel better.
One day, I remember a new teacher asking me to stop a student from walking away. I am a veteran teacher, so I told the student to go back and get in line. I was calm and very respectful. I said, “Hey, obey the rules and procedures. Do what your teacher asked and get back in line down the hall.” The student looked at me boldly, in a belligerent way, and said, “Bitch, shut your lil’ wig ass up talking to me.” I politely told the other teacher that the student was unwilling to comply. I put my hands in my pockets and went into my classroom. On the walk of shame to my class, a few students were laughing so hard. Others were very upset with the student and proceeded to verbally put her in her place for disrespecting me. Once inside the “safety” of my classroom, I actually started laughing. I could not believe a student, a child, a 6th grader said that to me. I was caught in between laughter, shock, and anger. Sometimes, you have to walk away.
I shared this experience with my colleagues and family. I am now known as “LIL’ WIG.” As I reflect on it now, I am not mad. Was the student disrespectful? Yes, but her response is how a lot of students respond daily. They do not see anything wrong with their behavior or responses. We have a lot of disrespectful adults with a child-like mind raising children.
A few weeks later, I talked to this same student about this incident, and she did not remember her disrespectful behavior or response. She proceeded to tell me about some issues she has to deal with on the home front. That is not an excuse. I said to her that society would not care about issues. Society will kill, beat, jail, fine, or issue severe consequences for negative behaviors.
So, all I am trying to say is:
- Before you bash a teacher, walk in our shoes.
- Live the life we live by missing out on family time, vacations, skipping doctor’s appointments, and other important events to make sure our lessons are engaging and creative for your child.
- Before you bash a teacher, think about the following: I have spent my checks on paying light bills, buying groceries, buying school supplies, paying for sports fees, cheerleader outfits, prom outfits, ACT applications, field trips, church fundraisers for the student, buying cookies, candy, school uniforms, dinners for the holidays, hair products for boys and girls, sanitary products, mid-day snacks, etc.
I am not saying we are perfect, but we go far and above to make our students happy.
A Teacher Who Wants to Give Up
Beyond teaching, Cassie Mebane is a wife and mother. She loves her family and her church, where she plays her bass guitar.