I had a fight with my boss yesterday. Now that’s not really unusual, I fight with him daily; it’s just that usually the fights are confined to inside my head. Not so yesterday. We had a crazy mama come in last week. She wanted to talk to the math teacher so I just planned to go in and give her the social studies grades and get out, there is usually little joy in parent conferences. But this mama was nuts and I wasn’t leaving my partners alone with her. She accused us of not teaching her child anything, that we were prejudice because he is Hispanic, that we expected him to be a custodian – but she has decided he will be a doctor. She rarely let us speak and over talked us when we tried.
The truth is she has a pretty nice kid and very bright. Problem is he doesn’t want to do his work or study – strangely enough that causes his grades to go down. After letting her have her say and that ‘we’ (mostly one teacher) weren’t doing our jobs I told her, “From what I can see you are doing a great job as his mother, and I can assure you we are doing our jobs as teachers. It seems the one not doing their job is your son and until he decides to do the work there is not much you or we can do for him.”
The mom accosted the boss in the parking lot Monday morning to tell him her version of what was said at the meeting. And nearly everything she told him was untrue. She basically took everything she was accusing us of and told him we said it. I’m sure she heard that, she just didn’t realize it was all coming from her.
At planning Mr. K was to report to the office. Now you know if you’ve read here long Mr. K and I aren’t the best of friends, but after working with him for several years I feel more like an exasperated mother than an enemy. The administration is blaming him for things he has not done and demanding things from him that they demand from no one else. It’s getting my back up.
In an email the boss sent to Mr. K, he outlined all the mother had said and said he wanted to meet with Mr. K at planning time. Megan and I, who had been at the meeting, decide to go with him as support and as witnesses.
The boss refused to allow us in. I tried to speak to him as he walked into his office, but as he always does when I try to speak to him he kept walking. Slightly louder (but I swear, not yelling) I tried to say, “You better listen to us because we were at the meeting and heard what she and Mr. K said.”
He blazed out of his office half way through my sentence, seeming quite angry, saying, “This is not how we’re handling this. I’ll speak with you later.” And disappeared into the office with Mr. K and the vice principal. To say I was pissed would be an understatement.
We waited – mostly as a show of support for Mr. K, for nearly an hour. Then he asked Megan and me to meet with him. As he ushered us in, I pulled out my phone – very obviously, to tape the meeting. Megan told him what had actually been said at the meeting. I remained too angry to do much talking. Then he asked Megan and the VP to leave and for me to remain.
I won’t go into all the details, but we each aired out some of our feelings and disagreements. I was able to state my piece and despite how angry I was I managed to be polite and professional – and I didn’t cry, which is a problem I sometimes have when I’m very angry. I was proud of me. I have tenure and one year to go, he doesn’t have much to hold over me and by the time I left his office he was apologizing to me.
So I guess you would say things are tense at school. But if he pushes too hard I have one back up – thank to all of you for listening to me for so many years, I now know how to write. I can state my positions well, and I can be persuasive if necessary. In other words I have a computer and I’m not afraid to use it. I’ve been around long enough to have lots of friends at the education center. Here’s hoping today is a better day.