A colleague of mine walked into the Art room where our PLC meeting was being held with a student made card in her hand. She walked towards the principal, who was engaged in conversation with another teacher, and waited patiently. As soon as the other teacher was done, she took a deep breath, shoved the card at him and said, “You think that was bad, wait until you read this!”. She grinned ferociously, “Can you believe it?” she said, “Can you believe he wrote that?” This teacher had the students make cards to send to a student in her class who was having emergency surgery. He wrote, “Sorry you are missing all the fun.” “Don’t die.” I hope you survive.” She proceeded to walk around the room, ranting to all present about how she took his card out, and mailed everyone else’s. Knowing this teacher she probably made a show of it, making sure all the other students knew his card wasn’t included. The other teachers drank her kool-aid, and began to nod their heads in assent at the atrocity of this little boy’s words. My principal looked at me , and we both shook our heads. I said, “He said what he felt, he said it the best way he knew how.” My principal walked over to her and said, “You should have used this as a teaching moment.” She shook her head, “I did , I told him…” My principal stopped her and said, “He did not write that with malice, you should have taken him aside , and helped him find a better way to say it.” Makes sense, right? All I could think about was how this little boy felt when his card was not included. I felt so sad for him. This was not the first time this teacher has done or said things like this, and I know it won’t be the last. Too many of us drink the koolaid, we take pride in berating and ridiculing our students, this should not be. Ask yourself, if someone treated a child of yours that way, how would you feel?
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