Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Why I Quit My Job (Part 2)

When Crystal made her snide remark I had not yet decided to quit yet. Like I mentioned in my last post, I've heard such idiotic comments before and have encountered much worse. I wrote down a long note to the teacher describing what had happened. Part of what I hate about being a substitute teacher is the fact that I have to trust the teacher will discipline the student the next day. Something that I may find to be incredibly disrespectful may be brushed off completely by someone else.

I needed my own form of justice. I knew that I needed to control myself because when I'm really angry, I cry uncontrollably, which is highly inconvenient. I tried to take a more educational approach to the situation. This is the infuriating conversation I had with Crystal:

Me: Crystal, let me ask you a question. And I'm being completely honest here. How many Asian people have you encountered in your life?


Crystal: Huh? What does that mean?


Me: How many Asian people have you interacted with?


Crystal: What? [Looks around, laughing. Her peers tell her to just answer the question.] Uh, not many.


Me: Yeah, I didn't think so. I'm from California where it's very diverse. We accept everyone for the way they are. I have to tell you that your comment earlier was incredibly ignorant and rude. You were very disrespectful.


Crystal: Huh? What did I even say? I didn't say nothin. [Other students start chirping in and remind her of what she said earlier, even though she very well knows]


Male student: Well, you can call her a Nazi!


Me: Why would I do that?


Crystal: I'm German. You can call me a Nazi. I don't care. [Laughs]


Me: No, I'm not going to call you that. That's wrong. What you said to me earlier was very hurtful and I'm telling you this for your own benefit. In the future, if you say this to someone else they may not be as calm about it. I'm being honest here. You made me very angry.


Crystal: Oh, I made you angry?


Me: Yes, you did.


Crystal: Oh, I made you angry? [Other students at this point tell her to just shut up and stop being sarcastic.]


Me: You know what? I can see you're not even trying to learn from me right now. This is for your own benefit and you don't even care so I'm just going to stop.




This, kids, is when I realized that I needed to quit. I told myself that I was putting myself through this for absolutely nothing. Sometimes, as difficult as it may be, you just have to swallow your pride and admit you're not cut out for something. My husband makes enough money for us to live comfortably and had been telling me for months to stop working so I knew he would support my decision.

I think I kept at it for so long not just because I wanted to get paid, but also because I thought that maybe in a small way I was making a difference. Isn't that what we all want? To make a difference?

I've told kids to go to college and praised those who are going. I've given my "no smoking" speech to middle schoolers. I've given my lunch to a girl who didn't have any and taken pleasure in seeing her eat it even though she was too polite to take it. I've told students they were beautiful. I've scolded kids for littering. I've comforted a child after she found out one of her teachers passed away over the weekend. All of these tiny little things will, hopefully, stick with them at least for a moment.

Unfortunately, I did not get through to Crystal. I invest so much of myself into these students because I want them to succeed, even though I've only known them for 50 minutes at a time. When I saw Crystal's absolute stubbornness and downright ignorance, it just broke my heart.

I've also had not so nice moments in classrooms. You can either be the cool substitute that gets trampled or a total strict bitch. There really is no in-between. I've tried both approaches and failed. When I used to tell The Hubby my stories of students disrespect me he would say that I should stop letting them walk all over me. However, kids bring guns to school now and it's just not worth it.

I don't like the person I become when in a classroom with bad kids. Sometimes I found myself wanting to shout, "But I'm really a nice person, dammit!"

Source: topatoco.com via Min on Pinterest


So there's my story. I'm unemployed other than my side blogging job where I pretend to be from the UK and use words like "flat" and "fab." I woke up this morning feeling absolutely wonderful. I can now focus on my household duties, my health and figuring what the heck I want to do with my life.

This was my Facebook status yesterday: "Quit my job today after deciding that I shouldn't drive home crying angry tears due to ignorance by a student. Best decision ever. Thanks to my hubby for working hard enough for the both of us."


Fifty-seven people "liked" it, which is more than when I posted about The Hubby coming home from deployment. Ha! I guess there are just a lot of people wishing they could quit spontaneously. 


By the way, this is what you can expect from our future. You're welcome:




3 comments:

Shirley said...

Good for you Min! I'm so proud of you and honestly your positive energy can be so much more helpful somewhere else where the recipients actually appreciate it.

Jenn C. said...

^^ Ditto! You're an awesome person and teacher! You deserve to work where the same respect and kindness is reciprocated 110%! Seriously, what's wrong with these kids!? Their parents need to bend over and have lessons in common decency shoved up their asses. Christ.

You'll continue making a difference in people's lives doing whatever you choose to do! For me, catching up with your blog has always reminded me what it means to be a good person/friend/citizen/future dog owner. And that I also need some lessons in baking. Cheers to you, Min! :)

Rebecca said...

reading this almost made me tear up haha- i'm so proud of you. i know it's cliche, but the little things really do resound in a kid's life. you are incredible and so admirable- i'm sure that no matter how it seems to have turned out, these kids will remember you.

miss you. i feel bad to have not seen the facebook status about you quitting. we really need to catch up- can't wait to see you in the summer!