I was going to cry or scream or…
What were my options?
8th period came sliding in, ignoring my greeting, avoiding my eyes. Plopping into their desks so that they slid noisily on the tile, they made their position clear by turning so that their backs faced me. One declared loudly–as if I couldn’t see with my own eyes, “I’m not doing S#!&!”
I didn’t like what I came up with, to create some illusion of control, but it beat the alternatives. “That’s fine, you had a free day anyway,” and I slid my lesson plan from view. We were probably all safer for this response, but I felt like dust. What kind of a teacher does this? After four years, that’s all I could come up with?
Looking back a year later, I can cut myself some slack. Giving myself one hour to eat crow and pray for a better tomorrow while avoiding a brawl was probably fine; making a habit of this wouldn’t have been fine. And I didn’t.
Today, the ADHD student all the other teachers hate exclaimed in surprise, “Wow, we’ve done a lot in this class.” He looked up in horror, “I didn’t mean…” he didn’t know how to finish. He didn’t mean any disrespect. Another class not only worked through two grammar assignments, but wrote a short business letter too–without complaint. To get to this point, it took humble, heart-stopping moments like the one above.