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.

 

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10 thoughts on “Part 5: High School Twice

  1. Just read Part Four and Part Five. You have filled the voids left by this experience. You have survived with grace. Keep blogging so that what you have learned can be communicated to those still needing another lesson to ponder.

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  2. Holy crap! Glad you are processing this. Revenge is a weird beast, but I am glad you are emptying that draw. What a mess. Even after reading this, I am still proud of the education I got from my teachers. I am proud that you guys pushed me to be better, even when I kicked and screamed and sulked. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not giving up on me or any other student.

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  3. What a character-building time in your life! I truly believe you would have fared much better had you worked for Bert Moore. My student days were angst-filled, but academically great. And my highly limited perception of the faculty of my time was positive. As an older woman who now sees time on earth as something that speeds by, I cringe reading about your years of pain, but am glad you forged ahead before 7 years turned to 27 years. I imagine you were able to breathe fresh air in other places. – Anne Morrow Cooper '72

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  4. Plenty of good teaching happened there, and I'm glad you realize that. The crazy thing to me is that I did my best to help the girl who sought to undermine me. After 41 years in education, Cliff said it was often the kids and families you tried to help the most who turned on you. Puzzling, isn't it?

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  5. I met Bert after he went to the school in CO. He asked me what I liked about the HH bldg he'd designed. I pointed out there was no theater storage. Once he realized I was right, he apologized. But he laughed uproariously about the goat stories. Then he got quiet and said that was memorable learning because a teacher and students worked equally together to accomplish something. Yes, he and I held a similar understanding about the point of schooling.

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  6. Remember that children come out of a family system they have to learn to navigate. As Cliff used to say about such curious behavior, they learned it somewhere, somewhere where it worked every time. He also wisely said that children will up the ante until they get what they want. Too often they learn that negative behavior gets the attention.

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