“i love you, but i don’t like you right now”

My high school church youth director told us a horrific story one night about how her own mother uttered these words to her.  How could a parent not like their own child? 

I don’t have kids of my own, but after today I know the feeling of loving someone, but needing to be away from them before you physically harm them.

Today my 8th graders decided to teach me a lesson in their 1st Amendment rights.  It was cute.  After asking them to “please stop talking” in the hallway, in the classroom, during the quiz, one lovely young lady decided to stand up for herself and her classmates.

“Mrs. Russ, I’m sorry for exercising my 1st amendment right to freedom of speech by talking to my friends.  I won’t do it again.”

“You’re right,” I said, “you do have the right to free speech.  But now you have to decide what’s more important – your right to talk or your grade.  So I’ll keep teaching, and you can make your decision.”

Then it happened.  Several of them looked at each other with this look on their faces.  I don’t exactly know how to describe it, except to say that it was as if they turned into raisins and their faces shriveled inward.  Their eyes scrunched up, their mouths were agape, their brows furrowed, and their expressions seemed to say, “What the hell is she talking about?”

I sighed quietly and kept going, trying not to let them see my clinched fists.  I had determined that I would not commit a felony today.  I would do anything to make sure these students are educated, safe, and taken care of.  I would even put myself in harm’s way if they were ever threatened.  But I really did not like them at that particular moment.

Right after school we had a faculty meeting about everything except school.  This week is Red Ribbon Week – the point is to encourage kids to stay drug free. So we’re wearing pink shirts on Wednesday to support Breast Cancer awareness and Thursday is team jersey day.

Read that again.  Let me know when you understand the logic.

We were also reminded that a group of superintendants from around the country will be visiting our school to see how we utilize state-of-the-art technology in our classrooms.  It’s both exciting and stressful, as there is a lot of preparation to be done.  To conclude the meeting, we watched a brief video clip about the United Way Campaign…on a 5-year old LCD projector hooked up to computer speakers amplified by someone holding a microphone. 

The irony was not lost on me.

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3 Comments on ““i love you, but i don’t like you right now””

  1. Christy Todd says:

    Can’t believe you remember that. Now that I have my own 13 year old daughter, …… enough said.

    Love and miss you!!! oh, and I do like you, too!!!!

  2. katie says:

    hahahahahahaha….this cracks me up. this is a classic way to support red ribbon week and your technological advancements. makes me proud of our educational system. glad you are there to see the irony and backwardness so that at least ALL of our children aren’t messed up. I’m pretty sure I would have wanted you as a teacher.

  3. Tamara says:

    Kids are people, too, so it’s easy to feel like *right now* is not the time for me to be around them, or more specifically, mine.

    Also, some things should be sent out via e-mail.


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