I’m a teacher. Sounds like some sort of weird admission. Yes, that’s right. I’m a teacher. And guess what, I actually love my job. There’s not a lot of people that can say that, but it’s true. Now, believe me when I say it’s not all rainbows. It’s most definitely not. I have tough days and tougher weeks and even tougher students that like to challenge me until I don’t think I can take it anymore.
Last week, I got this email from a mom and she proceeded to tell me how her son is intimidated by me because I made this comment: “People like you never make it in life.”
I sound like an awful human being! First, I never said anything like that. Second, there’s a whole lot of backstory that led to this. This boy has missed roughly one months worth of classes BEFORE any of this ever happened, and when he does show up he’s at least 30 minutes late. On this particular day, he came in 30 minutes late and then told me that he needed to go somewhere else. He eventually came in around an hour later with only 20 minutes left of class. That’s when he decided that he needed to know what he missed while he was gone. I shook my head and said, “I’m worried about your future.”
Okay, I know what some of you may be thinking. “HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT TO A KID?” “YOU’RE A TEACHER, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO ENCOURAGE!”
And my answer to you: This kid is 18 years old. Someone needs to tell him to figure it out. I don’t believe he’s intimidated by me. I think it’s an excuse he’s giving his mom to get out of coming to school. And mom’s being mom’s, believe it. I have kids too, and I know I have a hard time hearing anything negative about my kid.
So what have I learned from all of this. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ruffle a few feathers to get through. That’s what I’ve learned from this one kid. But from countless others, I’ve learned what it’s like to be different, to be gay, to be depressed, to have anxiety, to feel pressure, to be on drugs, to have a baby at 15, to get accepted into your dream school, to find out you’re not going to have a home when you graduate, to go to jail, to have parents who go to jail…the list is endless. It’s also given me first hand experience for the characters I like to create!
For those of you considering teaching, it’s rewarding and it’s challenging and it’s awesome.