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The Price of Education and Teaching: Part IX

Rights are not part of my reality.

Daughter with mom and her kitten


Because I really had no 'resources,' I went back to my husband's apartment but started looking for a place to rent close to work. It took me about a month, so I lived a month of almost complete silence and took my daughter out in her stroller so we could spend time together away from our hell; it was interesting that his side of the family never came around during this time, and not even before. I have a feeling my husband still hadn't told his family what was going on; it would've been too humiliating for him.

One day he came home from work and said he wanted to talk; I'd talked enough, but I was at least willing to listen. He then said one of his friends had suggested we see a counselor; I quickly jumped in and said I'd been asking for that for years, and it was now too late, as I'd filed for divorce, and I wasn't going back on it.

He started telling me how I'd made him look bad with his entire ethnic community, and that he was going to be looked down upon; welcome to my world!

I finally found a room from a former student's grandmother, and my daughter and I moved in right away; there was nothing daddy could do anymore, and the coward wouldn't do anything anyway.

When I filed for divorce I also got a restraining order, but I never had to use it, though I was still cautious going to and from work

Though I was glad I'd found us a room, the excitement didn't last long; the landlord had tenants oozing out of the walls, and she told my brother to park his car about four blocks away; that angered me because he was their ride, taxi driver, and babysitter, and the landlord was the licensed child care provider. People who were freeloading parked in front of the house. The kids were stealing clothes, shoes, and toys from my daughter, but mom and grandmother insulted us instead of helping.

Both knew I was a teacher, and when one of the kids came home from school, she'd complain that she'd lost something, and teachers hadn't done anything about it. The mom's immediate response would always be: stupid teachers!

Well, this stupid teacher was practically held hostage by her first principal; as I was going to pick up my students after lunch, I met with a student who had a profuse nosebleed; naturally, I walked him to the office and wrote the referral note before going back for my students. I later inquired about the student, and his teacher told me he was fine.

Months later, the principal calls me to her office and immediately shuts the door; I got goosebumps. She tells me the nosebleed's parents are suing the school, and I had to sign some papers. I told her, number one, he wasn't my student; number two, his own teacher was on duty; third, I only happened to see him as I was on my way to pick up my students; she told me: I'm not touching X teacher, and you're not leaving until you sign! I signed and left the stinking office and its witch; to this day, I don't even know what I signed, but I have a feeling it was all one mean, fat, ugly lie.

This same teacher and I had yard duty together when I started working at the school, but for the entire first week, she was either late or didn't show up, so I'd had enough, and on the last day of the first week, I sent a student to the office saying I was alone on yard duty. Within seconds, I see this raging, fuming person charging towards me, and: How dare you call the office telling them I'm not here; I've been here everyday! She must have been invisible or I asleep the entire week.

When the principal learned about the 'incident,' she started lecturing me about how 'mean' I'd been to 'sweet' X, how much she'd already gone through, and how I needed to write a letter, hem, card apologizing to her; no problem, I wrote, gave the card, and spoke to her personally, and we worked things out, but the principal wouldn't let go and kept dragging the 'incident' till the other teacher had a talk with her.

Through it all, I was able to remain focused and teach my students about respecting everybody on campus; I felt like a hypocrite.

On another occasion, all the students went to recess or lunch recess at the same time, but three teachers were on yard duty; I was one of them and was watching the right side of the playground; the other two were on the left side.

After school, one of the teachers on duty rushed into my classroom; she said there'd been an incident on the playground, and I needed to sign the incident report; I told her nothing had happened on my side, and I hadn't seen anything either. She told me it didn't matter, and I had to sign; I told her I'd sign after she and the other teacher signed; she told me the other teacher wasn't going to sign, and I had to sign. I reiterated I'd sign after they did; she became angry and screamed: Sign, goddamnit; I didn't walk all the way here for nothing!! I finished with, bring the form back when you've both signed, and she stomped out of my classroom; I felt both liberated and guilty but was glad I'd stood my ground for once and would continue to do so in the future because I'd have no other choice; there'd be two more ogres to work with....

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The Price of Education and Teaching: Part IX
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