Today is the anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters, and as a die-hard movie fan (pardon the pun), I had a blog post prepared on the topic. Instead, I will focus on a FB post by a fellow educator that had me up almost all night. “….crying because I felt like nothing, yet again.”
When I started a small business three years ago that allowed me to show other teachers how to meet standards and reach reluctant readers through an enhanced understanding of film literacy, I had no idea that nearly every single day, I would be connecting with educators who cried every day, who were treated as though they were invisible by colleagues, and intimidated by administrators. Some were literally too afraid to get out of their car to go into school, most were not sleeping, and many were on anti-anxiety medication. The prevailing thought: “I can’t do this any more.”
I know that not all teachers are fortunate enough to have the resources that allow them to leave a toxic situation. I fervently hope that they did not have students coming to tell them that other teachers were making fun of them in front of their classroom. I hope they did not eat alone every day because a team member said she stopped eating lunch with them after a colleague asked, “Why would you eat lunch with her?” I hope they did not have a former team leader, (one who might go on to become a principal perhaps), who never spoke to them in front of other people, and worse, thought they were too stupid to notice. I hope they did not have teacher assistants who sat in the back of the room and played with an I-phone for 40 minutes, (again too stupid to notice.) I hope they were not called out for uncovering glaring inconsistencies in class numbers or mentioning a story that was “not in the script.” I hope these teachers were not going into work on 3-4 hours of sleep, with pains in their chest, so beaten down that they could not have told you their own name if they tried. I hope they did not have a colleague who stood in front of a full classroom and announced, “You don’t know what you are doing. You’re not helping anyone.” It’s a common trick I have learned about: reduce people to the point where they cannot think clearly, and then pull them apart when they make a mistake.
All of this would be fiction of course. None of this could happen in real life, could it? Could a teacher who came into work on time every day for nearly twenty years, with glowing feedback from administrator after administrator end up in a situation like this?
On the positive, I hope these teachers have had administrators who have stopped to listen to them when they are crying so hard they can hardly talk, who say they will do anything to continue having them as part of their staff. I hope they will go on to work with families who thank them for what they do.
As a writer, I have so much more to say, but I have been invited out to lunch today, and then I am going to a small gathering. I’m not sure, but I think there might be storms, and more than likely, I might just find myself eating alone, just like those teachers in my story.
I can handle that.