Thank You with a Twist

This morning I woke up to a text message from a co-worker.  Sadly this isn’t anything new.  However, I was surprised to see which co-worker it was from.  It was from the co-worker whose daughter I had taught.  They are the mother/daughter duo that caused me most of my stress and frustration from last year.  If you don’t know what I mean, please check out my post titled Dear Diary Explained.

In the text message “She” was telling me that her daughter planned on using the test taking strategies that I had taught her last year on the state test she had today.  She then went on to express how I am making a huge impact on the students of our school.  Reading this left me amazed, because all I could think of was the hell that she and her daughter put me through last year.  Not only did I have to deal with these two, but this was also my first year at this school which, by the way, was nothing like what I was used to.  This school is like the Disney Channel. I was more familiar with MTV.  I was also the only African American teacher at a school that I can strongly say is about 98% Caucasian (teachers and students).  I was used to being a part of a school that represented more of how America truly looks.  Although most of the teachers did their best to make me feel a part, I still had moments where I felt alone and in the spotlight, all at the same time.  Dealing with these changes of familiarity, one of the last things I needed was a co-worker that I worked with every day, to go behind my back complaining about me, all the while smiling and appearing to be the cheerleader for students and teachers alike.

Setting: Today, at school before the bell rang, “She” came into my room with that smile she always gives when she is overflowing with unicorns, bubbles, hearts, and rainbows.

She: (hugs me) Thank you for being an inspiration to our students.  Did you get my text?

Me: Thank you for that and yeah, but I am surprised that you would be thanking me.

She: Well, you have been great with our students and I appreciate what you did for my daughter.

Me: I’m surprised because you really put me through a lot last year with your daughter misinterpreting what I would say in class and writing it down on sticky notes to give you and then you going to the principal about it…. Last year was really rough for me.

She: (voice cracking) I’m just telling you what [my daughter] said.

Me: Yes, but instead of you coming to me, you went to the principal (interruption)

She: (with an uncomfortable smile) I came and talked to you about it (interruption)

Me: After you met with the principal, but I am happy that somewhere in all of that, your daughter was able to learn something that she wants to use instead of what her current teacher has taught her this year, so Thank you.

She: (leaves my room as her Unicorns have now turned into wildly running dark horses, the bubbles have all burst, the hearts have been shattered, and the rainbows have evaporated)

Me: (smiling and feeling relieved and proud of myself)

I didn’t expect this to happen today, but I believe that it was finally time for me to let her know how she and her daughter made me feel. I wasn’t loud or disrespectful because what is the point in that.  I kept my tone and voice level very calm.  Since last year I have maintained my professionalism to her and her daughter.  I even prayed for her when she was dealing with some personal things.  I prayed on the spot for her that God would be with her and comfort her in her time of frustration.  She and her daughter didn’t realize they hurt me, but I also don’t think she knew that I had figured out it was her that was going to the principal to “tattle” on me.  The principal would only tell me a parent came to her.  My detective shows really helped me figure this out last year.  I saw her later in the day and there was a continuation of no words from her. She still carried her frown and I still said hello.  I know that she didn’t expect that conversation to turn out the way that it did, but it would have been a disservice to myself, if I hadn’t been honest about my feelings.  I will continue to be a professional with her, but yea ME!!!

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