In my second year of teaching, I was convinced I knew everything. I had already conquered the dreaded “first year”, so I was clearly equipped to handle anything.
Then Kyndra was placed in my class.
This particular class was the most terrible of classes – it was 3rd block, and 3rd block was the lunch block. This meant that my class came in for 25 minutes, left to go to lunch for 25 minutes, then came back to class for an hour. Quick poll – how many of you believe my students actually returned to class after lunch??
In any event, Kyndra quickly found herself some friends in that class, and she actually returned from lunch every day. Quitely. Very subdued. Very mellow. Since I was a second-year teacher who knew everything, I concluded that she must get sleepy after she eats.
One day Kyndra was escorted back to class by the SRO (School Resource Officer). He pulled me aside and informed me that Kyndra’s “sleepiness” was not due to the food, but to the marijuana she was smoking during lunch. I was to inform him if she was late to class or showed signs of any suspicious behavior.
This set me off, for several reasons. I was mad at myself for being duped. I was also mad because Kyndra had a son and a job. When I decided to confront her about this, it went something like this:
me: why would you do something like that?
kydra: leave me alone.
me: that’s not my job.
me: you think that’s funny? you can leave.
kyndra: *gets up to leave*
me: *yelling* and have fun working at mcdonalds for the rest of your life!
The class was stunned, and so was I. It was not my finest moment as an educator, or as a human being. This person who I was charged with educating was instead kicked out of my classroom and insulted on her way. Not to mention the fact that I also demeaned every McDonalds employee in the process. Who was I?
Two weeks later I saw Kyndra in the hallway during my planning period. She had papers from guidance and needed my signature to withdrawl. Before I signed, I asked what she was going to do. She told me she looked into a GED program that seemed like a good option for her, and it would allow her to keep working and take care of her son. I signed the paper and wished her luck.
I have no idea what happened to Kyndra, or if she ever thinks about my class. But I think about my experience with her nearly every day.