An incident from this morning has left a bad taste in my mouth all day. It's my fault, or I am at least an equal partner in bearing the shame. I was not professional with another staff member this morning. I lost it.
The tension had been building for weeks. A study hall supervisor was not allowing students to leave and get help from teachers, even though our planning periods are specifically scheduled during study hall time for this to happen. This is also the period of the day when I'm able to do a lot of writing conferences, so I have a lot of kids in and out of my room.
I started getting dozens of emails: "I can't make it to my writing conference. Mrs. _____ says it's not important." "I'm not being allowed to leave even though I have a pass." "Mrs. ____ says we're lying to try to go to your room." Kids were being sent to the office crying, begging to switch study halls since they were being punished for small offenses (nodding at another student, whispering) and forced to do push-ups or other activities. They were also completely on lockdown, even though our study halls have always had an open policy for students to seek out teacher help. I was furious. There is no reason my students should not be allowed to come see me.
I've sent out many emails, notes, and personally spoken with the supervisor in question regarding my students, and that they should always be allowed to come see me during study hall, but this morning was even worse. I tried to get my principal involved but he was out of the office, so I went down myself. I should have known better.
I could not control the anger, the shaking in my limbs as my voice rose and I snapped that my students are always allowed to come see me, and that it was wrong for them to be held hostage. No response. Just staring from the supervisor and dead silence from the students in the room.
I was still shaking when I got back to my classroom. A few former hostages trickled in, allowed to come see me now that my outburst had freed them. One boy shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you. You are my hero. No one has stood up for us like that before."
I wish I could feel better about it, knowing that the kids are grateful, but I don't. I shouldn't have raised my voice; I shouldn't have felt like I had to. I allowed my anger and frustration to turn me into the bad guy, the unprofessional teacher who loses her s*#+ in front of kids, and that's so not cool (regardless of what the kids themselves think). Other adults overheard, and without knowing the backstory, I'm positive I am the one who looks bad here.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.