I Am Grieved Sir!

I got that line from a Good Wife episode, by the way. Anyway, I had a friend of mine tell me about something that happened to her the other day. She is also a teacher. I was absolutely dumbfounded when she told me and I couldn’t believe the stupidity behind it all. It will either make you laugh or just shake your head.

She teaches college as well, but not the same place I teach. She and I have been friends for a really long time, so I know her pretty well and can attest that the accusations against her are completely unfounded. I’ve seen her instruct kids because she was MY instructor, and she is flawless. She has her moments and her struggles, but overall, she’s pretty darn awesome.

She was doing her job, giving the end-of-the-semester evaluations, just like she always does. She told me that she left the room, just like she is required to and she suddenly heard shouting coming from the classroom. She said she didn’t think anything of it because she figured there was some sort of discussion going on. She figured if there was a problem, one of the students would have left the room to get her. Her class always had colorful discussions, so she wasn’t shocked that they may have been talking while completing the evaluation.

She told me that the next thing she knew one of the older gentlemen in the class got up and stormed out. She told me that she wished him a good day, but he then snapped at her. Because the class wasn’t finished with the evaluations, she stayed in the hallway reading some of the assignments for the upcoming semester. The student proctor then came out, red in the face and trembling. The poor kid was visibly upset and told my friend that the guy who just stormed out really upset the class with some of the things he said. The proctor told my friend he [the proctor] wasn’t sure what he should do. My friend assured him that he needn’t be upset and that the evaluations were strictly voluntary; no one was going to get in trouble if they didn’t do the evaluation.

When my friend walked back into the class, she noticed that many of the students showed visible signs of alarm. Some were flushed. Others, she told me, just looked shell-shocked. She told me that her first thought was, “What the hell happened here?” She said that she told the students that no one would be in trouble if they didn’t complete the evaluations. It didn’t seem to help the atmosphere and the energy.

When the idiot who stormed out returned, she told me there was a mass exodus of students. She said many of them left the class, which was fine because technically they were dismissed. She’d covered all she needed to for the day prior to the evaluations. She told me that the one odd thing was that the guy who stormed out NEVER stayed to use the lab and this time he didn’t leave. It was like he was hovering to bully anyone who stayed behind.

She also told me he mouthed off something to her about one of his papers. She said in all of her years teaching, at the high school and college level, she’d never had anyone do that. I told her she was lucky given the climate of today’s students. Then she told me he wasn’t a younger student, but was, in fact the same age as her.

She said that some of the students came to her after the class and after the over-aged bully left. She said they were concerned, but none of them really seemed scared; more agitated than anything. She said that the proctor was the first to speak up and tell her what happened. He told her that the man started yelling about her [my friend], saying she used illegal drugs and that she shouts all of the time. Another student spoke up and told her that there were a couple of students who went right back at him and told him, in not such a polite manner, to shut up and keep his thoughts to himself. Naturally, my friend was alarmed.

I have seen her plan for her classes and have watched her interact with students, I being one of them. For anyone to accuse her of using drugs is laughable, and from what she has told me, the guy that caused all of the problems is an avid drug user, admitting that his drug deals have gone wrong at times. She said she overheard him talking once about it.

Needless to say, I did my best to tell her that she didn’t have anything to worry about. The students love her and she is a great teacher. In fact, she has been a mentor to me as a first year instructor. I don’t know what I would have done without her help. I had never seen her so rattled. For this guy to accuse her of such craziness… how do you process that?

Okay, so she teaches a couple of other classes and one of the guys in one of her evening classes is friends with the proctor from the other class. The student showed her tweets all over social media about what happened and that some students were actually scared. Scared! I guess my reaction to this is, WHAT IS HAPPENING? How is it okay to act this way to a person in a leadership position? Sure, if you don’t like the person or the way you are taught, it’s okay to leave feedback, even negative feedback?

I guess I’m writing this because not only am I in complete shock about the entire situation, but she is now questioning whether to go back and continue teaching. I told her that she shouldn’t let one bad apple keep her from doing what she loves,especially as an almost thirty-year veteran. I told her I thought she should address it either through the administration or even face-to-face with the bully who started all of this, but not to quit.

Here’s another point that has rattled me a bit. This guy is older, as I said. Most of the time you hear younger people exercising this type of disrespect. But, not this time. All of my life I’ve been told it’s my generation that will be the ruination of this world. Well, it looks like that doesn’t hold much water when you have an “elder” showing so much disrespect.

Then she finally tells me that his grades are very poor in her class. So, there is the crux of the problem. Because she has integrity and has to follow the standards that are set before her, he got pissed and ended up acting like a brainless, spineless mutant. I feel so bad for my friend. What a tragedy. I would have NEVER dreamed of treating anyone, let alone a teacher, this way. But, then again, I wasn’t raised by savages.

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