I had a small ah-ha moment today. It was a BAD day. For good reason.
And it hurts when I am treated badly. People say “They’re just kids” and “Don’t take it personally” – hell, I’ve said those things – but it’s wrong. It is personal because I love them. I want the best for them. In every interaction I give them my soul and my heart. I believe in them. I see their potential.
And then days like today happen. From period 2 on my day became a long never ending nightmare of relentless abuse.
And my heart was hurting. Badly.
I broke down and sobbed on three separate occasions. And it isn’t PMS. I work so hard to be better and to make their lives better, and days like today are a struggle.
One student went out of her way to abuse me all day. It started yesterday and during both days she has called me a slut, a bitch, a liar and asked, “Are you friggin stupid?” She ensured that she created opportunities to target me. As Head Teacher on duty, there was no shortage of opportunity for her. And she continued all day, even into Bus Duty and even roping in another teacher so that I looked really bad when I told her not to speak to me again but to go home. She turned to the other teacher and said, “See I told you she wouldn’t listen!”
Another student threw a full water bottle at myself and another Head Teacher. I was almost hit by a motorbike on the path behind our school – I felt the flap of my pants and the warm air of the bike on my skin. Other students told me I didn’t care about cancer because I wanted the shaving of a head to be supervised. Their friends watched me be humiliated and taunted and laughed. Students I have supported on so many different occasions. Another teacher was told that she would be knocked out for asking the same kids to not cut a boy’s hair.
I do care about cancer. I have lost a student to leukaemia. I have a tattoo over my heart in memory and out of respect. I have coloured my hair in the past and donated some dreads to raise money. I do care about cancer.
Teachers are human. We have hearts. The figurative heart cares deeply for the children enrolled in my school. I worked eleven and a half hours on premises today. I worked ten hours on premises yesterday.
Today my heart feels damaged, stomped on, betrayed. And even though it was breaking, it still forced me to care about the kids. I still looked out for a student who has been told that someone has paid money to another to bash her. I looked out for kids who have issues at home.
I stayed when all I wanted to do was quit.
And I’ll go back tomorrow even though I have had enough abuse.
Because it might be better …