Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Missed Chances

You know those moments in life where you have a chance to say something to someone and for some reason or another you don't, then for the rest of the night, maybe even week, it eats at you? You spend the next days you wish for another chance encounter so that you can say all those things you planned. Today I had one of those moments.

I ran into my fifth grade teacher. I wasn't in a position to give her that speech I've always wanted to give, so it went unsaid. But here, in letter form is what I SHOULD have said.

Dear Mrs. Deacon,

You may not remember me, I had you as a teacher in the 5th grade. I'm sure you've run into many former students over the years, so you may or may not have heard this already. You were the worst teacher in the world. You verbally attacked a 10 year old girl on nearly a daily basis.

Some things that stand out:

"You are stupid."

"You are a vegetable."

"You will never amount to anything."

I can't remember everything you said to me during that school year of hell, but those were some of the highlights. I remember spending a lot of time by myself in the hallway. I remember you insisting I be tested for learning disabilities, despite the fact that no other teacher before or after you thought that.

Let me tell you a little something about that 10 year old girl. She had parents who were on the verge of divorcing. Parents who screamed at each other just about nightly, when one would either return from work, or the bar or wherever. These fights sometimes turned physical. One of my parents was a severe alcoholic. I would lay awake at night listening to them argue, hoping it wasn't one of those nights that turned physical. So I didn't sleep much.

You said I would never amount to anything, well, you know what? I'm a teacher now. I could NEVER EVER imagine talking to a child the way you did. You took a child with very little self esteem and took the last bits that she had.

I'm not sure what inspired you to become a teacher, but I along with many of your former students wish you had ignored it. I'm not even sure you like children.

To be fair, I'm sure I wasn't a picnic to deal with, I didn't have such a great life then, but when my students are acting out, I try to figure out the reason, and see if there's a way to help. I think that is the compassionate approach. Not name calling and heaping more troubles onto an already troubled child.

In closing, I hope that you are no longer a teacher. No other child should EVER be subjected to you as an authority figure and role model in their lives.



Thanks for reading my rant. Maybe now I'll stop obsessing.


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