Today was one of the more bizarre days in my journey as a second career teacher. At the end of an after school meeting focused on explicit direct instruction (EDI), a fellow teacher, who I really do not know, asked me what seemed like a series of innocuous questions, which, after I answered, rapidly led to an expletive laced statement directed my way: “that’s just (f-word) wrong!” I was a little taken aback by the profanity, and the negative energy it carried. What ensued lasted what seemed like an eternity, but likely spanned only a couple of minutes, and the same expletive came at me repeatedly during the harangue. I might have tossed one or two back during the tirade.
What answer did I give that led to this situation? Well, I said, “Yes, that student is in my class.” After a few follow-up questions about my grading specifics, an f-bomb was hurled my way. Why? Unbeknownst to me, this teacher was riled up after speaking a few moments earlier with a student we shared; the student told the teacher why he had a D+ grade in my class when the online grade book showed a fifty percent overall score. While the student properly stated that cut point, the student erred when saying a 70% was an A; an 85% is an A- on my grading scale.
After the first expletive, I managed to extract from this teacher a possible cause for its use. The district grading scale, which this teacher uses, mirrors the traditional 90-100% for an A, 80-89% for a B, and etcetera scale, which differs greatly from mine and students complained to this teacher about the different scales. While I can understand that dilemma, I cannot see how the approach taken could engender any empathy from me, much less my desire to stick around for the next volley. At the same time, I replied to the email later, stating I am willing to discuss our differences if it is conducted in a professional manner. No response yet.
I am still stunned by the events of this afternoon, and hope there are no repeats to come. However, I do not have any time to dwell on this now as I need to finish creating three tests for tomorrow: 1) applications of differentiation, 2) introductory differential equations, and 3) quadratic equations.
My new profession does not cease to amaze me.
It’s good to know that the world is not as crazy as it might seem. My colleague replied to my email with a sincere apology for yesterday’s events. I have tremendous respect for their having done so. It is not easy to admit mistakes at times. I hope this flash point type of situation is not too common going forward. With all the pressure placed on teachers these days, I am not surprised everyone’s patience might be wearing thin.
Happy Friday to everyone!