(Then) find another job!

Shirley Bunn certainly spoke her mind to her disruptive, admittedly Mexican, student.  After he repeatedly kept making a statement of his ethnicity ("I'm Mexican!  I'm Mexican!"), she said exactly what she was thinking at that moment when he drove her past her breaking point.

"(Then) go back to Mexico."

Her school district, after a brief suspension, ultimately reinstated her last week.

We've all experienced moments when students, particularly middle schoolers, just keep going on and on and on with their nonsense. However, our loss of control, whether relatively small and verbal  (as in Bunn's case) or physical (throwing things, and so on), is the issue.

Teachers experience a peculiar stress, not unlike daily water torture.  It's not so bad at first, but after a while, we're ready to claw some eyes out.

Nonetheless, we have to be above that loss of control.

(Imagine a hotel concierge getting similarly snippy with a customer!  No matter how obnoxious the customer, if the concierge wants to keep his job, he holds his tongue.  He may vent later to friends or co-workers, but to that customer he is a gracious, willing host.)

I appreciate that Shirley Bunn has taught for over twenty years without mishap.  I also appreciate that she was Teacher of the Year two times.  That the school board took her past efforts and contributions into consideration was ethical.  However, if she finds that she is unable to exhibit control over what she says, perhaps it's time to step down.

If the kids are "getting to us", it's okay to leave the profession.  There are other things to do and experience. There's no shame in saying, "You  know what? It's too much, now." 

If we stay in the profession solely for the sake of a retirement benefit or health-care benefits, then we are doing a horrible disservice to students. As Dr. Phil says, " A good divorce is better than a bad marriage."

If we find ourselves no longer happy with the profession, for any reason, we have a bad marriage. It would be better for both students and teachers if we, instead, got a good divorce.

If we're in the relationship only for our retirement benefits, then we're in it for the wrong reasons.


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