Thursday, June 26, 2008


Some people grow up having no idea what they want to be when they grow up.

I was not one of those people. I've wanted to be a teacher since the 4th grade.

I had a horrible 4th grade experience. My teacher was awful. I mean truly awful.

I felt stupid every single day in his class. He yelled at us, taught from his desk, hardly ever engaged with us, made learning dreary, and worst of all ... made me feel insignificant and stupid. School was not a safe place for me that year. I came home crying on a daily basis. My parents did what they could, of course. Many meetings with our principal. Formal complaints filed. But in a lot of ways, once you're a teacher, it's very hard to get rid of you. I mean, someone really has to have proof of something significant. It's a very slippery slope to climb. 

One day, I remember sitting at my desk while my teacher was talking and I remember feeling extremely angry. The real violent kind of anger. 


And in my mind, I remember thinking, "When I grow up, I'm going to become a teacher. I am going to become everything that you are not. I am going to love each and every one of my students. They will feel successfull, smart, loved and safe. My classroom will be a place children want to come ... not a place they have to come."

And that was it. I made up my mind that day. 

I have been teaching for nine years now and I often think of that teacher. I wonder what he's doing? Did he hurt others like he hurt me? Is he still teaching?

I received those answers today.

While attending a workshop with other 1st grade teachers in our district, I started chatting with a teacher from the school I attended my elementary years. She asked me to tell her my teachers' names. She was interested in seeing if she knew any of them. I went through my elementary years and she paused as I said my 4th grade teacher's name. 

I'm not making this up. She literally paused.

Yes, she knew him. Yes, she knew all about him. His history. His teaching style. The complains he received.

I can't even begin to explain how validating that felt. 

And guess what people? He was demoted from teaching and is now working as a grounds-keeper. He no longer has the divine privilege of teaching children. 

Ain't karma a b$tch!?!

1 comment:

Eve said...

Oh Lisa I can't even begin to comment properly on this one because of everything Adelle was put through with her third grade teacher. We are still batteling those scars!

I can say this - YOU were her saving grace at school that year!!!

I believe in karma as well and I can only hope that her third grade teacher never hurts another child like she hurt mine.

I have to stop here because my stomach hurts just going there.