t: kelly, make a difference 3 Comments
A typical day for me begins by plugging in my unnamed laptop, grabbing my portable two-way radio from its charger, and listening to voicemail. It’s nothing for me to have 5 or 6 to listen to and take notes on before I begin making calls. It’s the busyness of the job and I’m stopped several times a day for students who come to see me about a myriad of issues. Changing classes, telling me what courses they want to take next year, finding out about driver’s education and my favorite: being forced to take summer school classes.
They don’t want to take summer school, but if they’ve failed something in a semester they must take it over for credit. My list of students has gotten longer as the year goes on, but it’s Freshman Syndrome. They don’t pay attention to what they are doing right now that will affect them later on. I hear, from my colleagues, that this subsides by junior year. Something to look forward to I suppose.
Sometimes discipline becomes my job and students can sometimes behave quite differently when I’m wearing that hat. Where they don’t normally roll their eyes and cuss under their breath, they have been known to resort to that when I have to suspend them or write them up for alternative schooling. When I confronted two girls about bullying another girl in their PE class they assured me they hadn’t done anything. That they were being nice to her and telling her that her hair was nice and she misunderstood them. While I wasn’t so sure, I told them I expected better behavior and was wearing my “counseling” hat after lecturing them.
Later, I found out they lied to me and I realized my Pollyanna-like naivete bit me in the ass. Some of the other administrators teased me about it, but I do like to trust them and give them a chance. This was a perfect instance of being entirely misled. Stupid me. Everyone isn’t always nice, I know this. But my previous dealings with these two girls had been positive and I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
They were caught, much to their dismay, by cell phone recording and when I watched it I was immediately sickened. My stomach lurched and the reality of Mean Girl Syndrome made its way into the moment.
When I suspended them for their actions I got eye rolls, lots of DANGs!, and an instance where I had to call security to detain one of them. She was pissed. And she did all she could to let me know it. Pollyanna turned into a warden and a guard and a police officer and all she saw of me was Authority Figure. Big, badass AUTHORITY.
I thought, “God! Why do you have to be so stupid? Why couldn’t you just own up to it and take the consequence?”
Back to work, I busied myself with the tediousness of the job. Meetings, typing things up, visiting classrooms, handling other student situations. My office has a big window and when I’m at the computer I can see, peripherally, the people who enter the office. Normally, I like to look up to see if there is a student, teacher, or parent that needs to see me so that I may welcome them into my office. On Friday, it seemed as if every problem in the world hit our school and it made for a whirlwind day. Looking up to see who was there wasn’t an option. My eyes focused on the computer screen and I refused to give notice to things going on around me.
When a body entered my room I didn’t look up. I even finished typing my sentence and could sense that they were sitting in one of the three chairs I have so I assumed they really needed to see me and were waiting patiently for me to finish.
I stopped my busy doings and turned around to see one of the two girls who bullied. And lied. Pollyanna would not make a comeback today, I thought. Hardass it is! Cast Iron Bitch From Hell steeled herself in my bones and I sat up straighter in my chair to posture myself. Do I look imposing enough? I wondered.
The art of dealing with this was not to be the first to speak. I remained silent.
“I came here to apologize, Mrs. Mocha. I’m so sorry for lying to you. You trusted me and I messed up.”
Pollyanna returned. She slouched. She sucked in her breath. The hot tears of a forgiving woman returned. Thank God. I hate maintaining that level of ugliness. Back to work.