Warning: this blog contains borderline words: Cover your eyes!
Sometimes blogging is about revealing your personality through stories. Today I was reminded of an incident early in my teaching career that really defined me as an educator. One of my defining characteristics as a teacher is this:
Screw me, and I’ll complain a lot–But you won’t screw my kids!
I feel this with more passion than you can imagine. If something remotely seems like discrimination then I’ll be your worst nightmare. I won’t scream or yell–I’ll just smile and refuse to change my mind. Here’s my story:
I was teaching a class for dyslexic readers. One teacher requested that I not have class in his room because he was department head and he had really "important" things to accomplish during his off-period. The class was a block which meant it covered two 45 minute periods. After being booted from my original classroom, I was told that there was no classroom that would be available for both periods. The suggestion of the assistant pricipal was that I would teach in one room for 45 min and then change classrooms for the second 45 min of the period. Anyone who’s worked with ADHD, learning disabled kids will tell you that this is not the best plan they’ve ever heard. You have to get the kids settled down not once, but twice.
I spoke to my supervisor and she totally agreed. She told me to set up an appointment with the principal and that she’s join me to help plead my case.
The day of the meeting my supervisor was nowhere to be seen. I called her office and her secretary let me know that she wouldn’t be joining me–I should go to the meeting alone. Lord knows I wouldn’t have scheduled this meeting if I’d known I was going to be alone!
I went into the meeting and explained that I thought making learning disabled kids change rooms in the middle of class seemed like discrimination. The principal proceeded to tell me that I was new, and that after a while I wouldn’t worry so much about things. He didn’t say this nicely. I said "you can do what you want, but if things are going to stay the way they are I want a letter from you stating that I complained. I don’t want to be included in the law suit when some parent finds out about this." The principal blinked. The Assistant principal scanned his schedule and found an empty room for me to have class in. Amazing! It appeared JUST LIKE THAT!
After the meeting, I went to my car and cried like a baby. But I protected my kids.
My personality profile says I’m an idealist–I guess that’s true!