“Do you understand how upset I was after I told one of my bosses that you’re such good students that I didn’t think there would be any way that you would be involved in this? And then to be proven wrong with video evidence?”
“So basically, you’re proud that you so terrorized someone paid to spend time with you that the money wasn’t enough anymore? That’s something to be proud of now?”
“How you talk to your own child is none of my business, but you don’t need to use that kind of language that loudly when there could be other children – or even adults – present.”
“You know what you did was wrong. I know what you did was wrong. My mom knows what you did was wrong. And what I’m telling you right now is that you should not profit from this error in judgment.”
These are all things that I have said today. In chronological order.
Actually, these are all things that I’ve said in the past 7 hours. And in between all of these little things, there were more things that I wasn’t as witty when handling. The hour-long meeting after school, for example, registered no shaming zingers.
Wait, no. I was witty in that one, too. It’s just that when I said, “Oh, I can tell them what to do with it,” in that meeting, the state of Texas lawmakers weren’t in the room to hear me, so it doesn’t really count. I did get a few titters from the peanut gallery, though.
It’s been a fucking hell of a day.
Honestly, it started out okay. I was sleepy, but prepared. Then I went to work and discovered that no, no I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared for the barrage of shit hitting the fan that would happen today. However. I have found that when this much happens in a small period of time, I get in a mood.
I even say to people, “I am in a mood.”
And in this mood, dear readers, is sometimes where I do my best teaching. Even out of school.
A wise teacher once said to me, “Humiliation is still the best teaching trick I know.” And it’s true. It’s so true, in fact, that we may or may not have put it on a shirt. That may or may not have been turned into a poorly sewn T-shirt pillow. That may or may not currently be on my couch.
It’s a gray area.
What isn’t a gray area is the fact that I used this tool multiple times today. And, possibly unsurprisingly, found it more effective on adults.
Yes, the students who participated in misbehavior on the bus felt bad that I stood up for them. So did the students who bragged about chasing away a substitute (the veracity of this claim has yet to be determined, but they certainly believe it).
However, I choose to believe that the man who screamed profanity at his kid across the parking lot of the 7-Eleven, then said “Chingate, puta gringa!” when I spoke up about it – only to hear his son tell him “Dad, that’s my teacher,” was more cowed than the children. And not just because his insult was redundant.
And I know that the woman who broke into my grandmother’s safe by picking the lock as the company was prepping for her estate sale was sorry. Especially when I reminded her that she was hired so that my grandmother wouldn’t have to deal with stuff like this. And when I pulled the teacher card.
I think they all learned from me today, no matter how old they are.
Now, let’s be honest: I love my kids. That’s why I do my job and why I stood up for those kiddos. I do not enjoy humiliating them. I jump all over other teachers who do, in fact, making quite a few enemies along the way. However, when they should be humiliated by their own choices, I have no problem laying it all out in front of them and forcing them to see what they’ve done. Generally this does the job for me.
That’s what I did today. I reminded people that they were not at their best, and let them judge themselves. Sadly, they all accurately judged themselves as lacking in the whole “being a good person” area.
So, dear friends, family, students, and public in general: I tried to give you all tomorrow off. I did. I tried to put in for a sub around midmorning and go shopping, but no one has picked it up. Thus, your best course of action is probably to steer clear of me for the next 24 hours. Unless you feel that you need to be knocked down a few pegs. If that’s the case, then please, make a grammatical error in front of me.
I dare you.
*Thanks to BlueRobot’s flickr feed for the original photo I remixed.