When I picked up my 8th grader this afternoon—he missed the bus due to a late homework assignment—he was visibly upset. I thought it was due to guilt regarding the assignment. But, after the standard “you’re only hurting yourself by not being responsible” statement, he didn’t exhibit the standard “thank god she’s done talking” relief.
Further questioning led to the discovery that he saw his first fight today. During sign language class, two girls were physically fighting in the hall. My son’s quiet, reserved teacher went ballistic, which scared my son also. I know seeing girls fight upset him more than if it had been boys—he’s always been very gentle toward girls, it’s part of his personality.
We finished discussing the fight…relief still not in evidence. I asked if anything else was wrong, he said no, I knew that wasn’t true, so I waited… As we pulled in the driveway, he suddenly started talking about a teacher yelling at him.
When he called to ask me for a ride home, he was in the library—school had been out for over half an hour. He borrowed a friend’s cell phone, and a teacher yelled at him to use the phone outside, continuing to make rude comments as he complied. This was another first, he’s never been in trouble at school--he was humiliated that it happened in front of friends.
I’ve written about cell phones, you know how I feel about kids carrying them everywhere. I completely support the school rule regarding cell phone use outside only. I also understand that my son thought the rule applied during school hours only.
There was no reason for the teacher’s rudeness, other than her personality—she has a definite reputation. So, when I looked at my son’s face, felt his hurt in my heart, I wanted to march back to his school and yell at the teacher. Of course I didn’t, because my son has to learn to handle difficult people in life. I did offer to beat her up for him though, which produced a smile and the relief I’d been looking for since picking him up.