Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Well, I'm still alive.  I've been a "real" teacher for about a month and a half, and it hasn't killed me.

What follows below is heavy on dialog.  All of mine is in bold.

I had a fun experience a couple days ago.  As regular readers might recall, I have taught summer school classes the past three summers.

Earlier this week I was walking around the local big, blue, box-store, when I noticed one of these students behind me with her mother.  I never know what to do in situations like that, so I pretended like I did not see them, and turned a corner.  The next aisle over, I heared the student loudly yell,
"No, mom, don't!"
I think, "okay... this should be interesting."
The mother turned the corner and quickly moved to stand right behind me, not saying anything.  This seemed a bit weird, and now I really wasn't sure what to say or do, so I ignored it and walked further down the aisle.  She followed, and stood silently behind me again.  Now I turned and asked,
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Do you know who I am?"
"Well, I saw you with [student], so you must be with her?"
"Yes, I'm her mother, and I'm also black."
I did not respond to this.  At first I wasn't sure that I had heard her correctly, or even where she was going with the statement.  After a few seconds of silence she continued,
"You kicked my daughter out of your class because she is black."
"I did ask her to leave my classroom.  She wasn't registered in any of my classes."
"You let other kids stay in the room"
"At first I let my kids have guests in my room.  They couldn't handle it, so I revoked the privilege.  After that, I kicked a lot of kids out of my room."
"You're a liar."
"Okay... what would you like to achieve here?"
"I want you to understand that not everyone has to live by your petty, elitist  little rules, and you're not king of the world.  I also want you to know what it feels like to be humiliated and singled out, like you made my daughter feel."
"...alright.  Well, it was nice meeting you."  And with this I turned and walked away from her.  It turned out she wasn't done though.  As I walked away, she followed me while singing at top volume, "this guy harassed my  daughter!  This guy harassed my teenage, high school daughter!  This guy hates black people!"

So, what do you do in a situation like this?  I thought about calling the police, but what good would that have really done?  I didn't want to escalate this, or take up any more of my time.  I also couldn't imagine that she would stick around long enough for the police to be any real help anyway.

I decided to call my mentor teacher.  She's someone who's always been able to give advice/suggestions when it comes to academic related stuff.  I figured she might have some words of wisdom.  As I pulled my phone out to dial, the woman chides,
"I think the number you're looking for is 911.  Maybe the police can help make this 'scary black lady' go away."
I ignored her and dialed.  By the time she picked up, the woman had ran away.  Once I explained what had happened, she assured me it was a "once in a lifetime experience."

When I told my administrator at the alternative ed school about this, he told me I should have filmed her and put it on YouTube.  Maybe if this sort of thing ever happens again, I'll think to do that.  Maybe.

Probably not.