I don’t have a phone in my classroom, but I do have a voicemail account that parents can use to leave me messages through the school’s switchboard. I received an unsettling message this afternoon.
I was about to leave class on-time today, too. It wasn’t a good day. Tyrese was unusually defiant and has been in the practice of spitting lately. It’s disgusting. He also refused to do any work.
Finally, I pulled him aside and basically asked him why he was acting so poorly today. He gave a whole list of excuses from hitting his head this morning, to forgetting something at home, to other kids bothering him.
Then I asked him, “Yeah, but what did I do? Because you seem to be taking it out on me by not listening today.”
I don’t know if humanizing myself worked or something. Like they tell you to do in hostage situations where you make the bad guy recognize that his hostages are people with families. Whatever, the case, Tyrese calmed down a little after that. I might have to use that trick more often.
I was packing up around 6 o’clock when I checked my email one last time. It does this cool thing where my voicemails are attached in my email. And I listened to it and it was from the mother of one of my difficult students, Donovan.
Donovan is the token pervert in the class. He’s gotten in trouble several times for sticking his crotch in girl’s faces while they’re sitting on the carpet and he frequently has his hand down his pants.
Anyway, the message from Donovan’s mother was frantic. She went on about how Donovan comes home upset from school everyday and how he hasn’t been himself all school year. She said she thinks he’s being bullied and she told me to call her as soon as possible.
I didn’t really want to call her. The phone we’re supposed to use for parent calls is in the break room and it’s not a happy place to be. But she sounded upset and I didn’t want her getting more upset if I didn’t return her call.
I called and I was stuck on the phone for over a half hour. First she told me that Tyrese spit in Donovan’s mouth today and that this isn’t the first instance of something happening between the two of them. I told her that I have seen them butt heads in the classroom and I make a point to separate them. I also told her that I would let the specials and lunchroom faculty know about the issue.
I felt like I handled that like a pro, but then she went on about how she doesn’t feel like this school is a good fit and that she might try to put Donovan in another school. I said that wasn’t an issue that I can help her with and referred her to Principal Belstead.
She said that she thinks Donovan might be depressed. She said over the summer his cousin had to move away and the two of them were really close and that since the school year started he hasn’t seemed happy. I just told her that I was sorry to hear that.
Then she went back to his being bullied and again how she feels like the school has been getting worse. I told her that I’m new to the school and I really didn’t know.
Finally after the fifth time of me referring her to the principal she relented and let me get off the phone.
I emailed Connie just to give her a head’s up, but I have a feeling that the damage is already done. A disgruntled parent upset with the school is going to reflect directly on me. That’s probably another nail in my coffin.
In personal news, I texted Colin to ask him how he’s doing following his breakup, and he replied that he feels free, but also sad.
Also Johnny keeps texting me asking if I’m getting his messages and why I won’t reply. I finally told him that I was done trying to have a relationship with him and told him that he should stop texting me. He went on a rant about how I’m constantly changing my mind about how I feel about him and he suggested I go into therapy. Not a bad idea, actually.