Somehow I thought quitting would be the end of the story.
Of course not.
Eventually, I heard from a distraught student who confessed she’d spread lies about me for years. A teacher told her I’d been fired because of her.
There it was–a missing clue to my seven-year ordeal.
Inquisitions with agendas I never understood.
Student names I was hot boxed to reveal.
Accusations written about me.
Unannounced classroom visits from a glaring administrator determined to get the goods.
Goods that had never existed.
History is littered with victims punished by those who fall in love with the lies of desperate children. Her fabrications expanded a narrative that people wanted to spin about me.
I assured her I had not been fired, that I was fine, that I did not hate her.
Ironically, her campaign of lies had set me free.
Why had that teacher lied to her about my departure? Why would he drop that kind of guilt onto a student? It certainly revealed the toxic climate that threatened all of us during those years.
When I finally spoke with the woman who replaced me, she asked, “How did you do this impossible job?”
Despite the storm clouds above me, I always had the wind at my back.
And that wind taught me great lessons about what it means to be a teacher.