When I was in seventh grade there was supposed to be a new teacher to come and teach my pre-algebra class.
In comes this young woman. She had an unusual last name and everyone could tell that she was definitely not from around here. She had just graduated and moved from where ever she was residing in.(I can’t remember where, somewhere up north in the states.)
She seemed like one of those “last minute hire teachers because we REALLY need someone to fill in asap.”
So she introduces herself and we start class. My class was one of those pre-ap courses so you would expect a little better from the students, but no. No, no, no. In fact, we were one of her worst groups. About half the class constantly goofed off and played around while she tried to teach the lesson. They would talk, throw things at each other, and completely ignore anything and everything she was saying.
It was like that most of the time, having half the class completely misbehave and have the teacher try and try to get them to listen and be quiet while she teaches, but she wasn’t persistent enough. She wasn’t loud enough.
One day there were these boys throwing paper balls all over the classroom, distracting all of the students and suddenly she just snapped and yelled at them. Completely over the top yelled at them. After she yelled at them they were quiet. Everyone was so quiet and waited to see what she would say next. What she did next though was unexpected. She cried. She just broke down and cried. Some of the girls in my class went up to her and tried to calm her down, pat her back gently and reassuring her that everything was okay.
We kids at the time have no idea what she’s going through. We don’t know what stress is, what having to deal with a lot of conflict is like, what real life is like, really. We were just these ignorant kids. At the time they would go around saying “Wow she actually cried in class, can you believe that?” and you would think that sounds stupid that she actually cried in class, why couldn’t she just tell everyone to be quiet or something. We just can’t relate well enough. I mean we don’t know what kind of life she lives, what stress she goes though and everything so to us if an adult breaks down it’s like the ultimate crime and shame.
After that incident, everyone did start paying more attention and started being more calm. She opened up to us more as the year went by and we got to know her better. She was really interesting, sharing her interests with us that we also shared and some stories of her childhood.
This one time towards the end of the year, where we didn’t really do anything since we finished the TAKS test we basically had free time in class, she talked about her life in college which was fairly recent since she just got the teaching job after she graduated. She said she didn’t want to teach math. She actually wanted to do something with working with lasers I believe? I can’t quite remember, but it was something completely different than teaching seventh grade math. And we just looked at her and one of the students said, “So why don’t you just go back to school? finish and do something you love.” and she thought about it and said that she should.
You could tell that teaching wasn’t her plan. It wasn’t her dream. Now that I’m in college, I can finally relate to a lot of what she was going through. Having to change your dreams just because you couldn’t do or you weren’t cut out for doing what you really wanted to do and instead having to settle for something else. All that stress piling on her from these damn kids that won’t give her a break. Stress from being completely new at this. Stress from entering reality and being completely hit by it every day.
I always think that what if I graduate with my degree and can’t get a job in something that I want to do or something that I’m qualified and instead have to settle for less in order to get by in this harsh reality of a world. I’m not sure what I’d do if every day I sat in a small office for the rest of my life, regretting everything and questioning everything while I wallow in misery.
So now I understand. Everything she did was completely acceptable and understandable. I only wish that she didn’t end up with such an unfortunate class that made unnecessary events arise. But the class did learn to be more respectful so in the end it was fine.
I’m not sure if she’s still teaching, but where ever she is I hope she’s doing well. She may have struggled at the beginning, but she was a great teacher and a great person.