Friday, April 4, 2014

A Little Drama

So, this happened yesterday:

Scene: school office

Characters, two women, both approximately middle aged.

At the beginning of the scene, one woman is working at a desk when the other woman enters and begins to sign the Visitors Log.

Secretary: May I help you? (Her tone is not welcoming; it is challenging.)

Teacher: Oh, I'm here to teach. (Shows her id badge.)

Secretary: You can't sign in there!

Teacher: (surprised) I can't?

Secretary: No. Teachers sign in in the book around the corner. (Points)

Teacher: I'm happy to sign there, but they have never asked me to do that before...

Secretary: Wait. Where are you going?

Teacher: The RECC.

Secretary: Oh, you're *that* lady.

Teacher: Yes, I'm *that* lady. (Smiles tentatively)

Secretary: Oh well, that's different. I thought since you said you were here to teach that you were a teacher.

Teacher: I *am* a teacher. I'm here to teach music...(voice trails off as she realized she has been dismissed and the secretary is no longer paying any attention.)

End scene.


I walked away feeling completely marginalized. At first I thought it was because I teach music. After a while I wondered if it was because I teach in the RECC program, and later still I was still pondering. Was it because I'm in the part-time/temporary category? The truth is, it shouldn't matter what category I'm in. It was just rude.

As I walked through the hall on my way to my class, I felt myself getting angry. But I didn't want to take my anger out on my students. I thought of the words of this video by Kid President which Lisa Marini Schlossnagle had shared on Facebook.

"There's plenty of reasons to dance. You just got to look for them. Don't worry though. You won't be doing this alone. You're gonna meet lots of people here. Some of them will be really nice and some won't be. It's not that they can't be... Maybe they're just having a bad day."

I realized that although I felt squashed, what I had experienced was not targeted or intentional. It was just rude. That doesn't make it right, of course. Whoever works in your front office sets the tone for your organization. But I wasn't being bullied. I wasn't the object of intentional meanness.

And I had a class to teach.

No one likes to feel that their work is insignificant. No one likes to feel disrespected. But yesterday I was so grateful to have the words of Kid President to fall back on when I really needed them.

"Just treat everybody like it's their birthday. Even if they don't deserve it. Because we all mess up sometimes. The biggest mess up? Not forgiving each other's mess ups."

But, just to be clear, I am a teacher, no matter which book I sign.




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