You know when someone offends you in a big way, all of a sudden you see their faults? All of a sudden you start to be bothered by their faults that you previously pushed under the rug.
I think today was the first day a teacher has ever made me cry.
Since I don’t feel like retelling the story in a narration, I’m going to do it in letter form. Not actually sending it of course:
Dear Mr. H,
I came to you this morning, thinking it would be more polite to tell you beforehand that I could not sing with the choir today. Instead, it was a big mistake and I wish I did not inform you at all.
I think as a teacher, it was childish of you to make the situation a bigger deal than it really was. So we had kids from other schools come to hear us sing so we could start recruiting. Perhaps if it was a festival where we were being evaluated as a group, or a show we had been preparing for months, I would understand your unwillingness to be flexible. However, this was given to us a week in advance. I know it’s not your concern, but I have had AP testing for the past two weeks, including later today, and I have been very stressed. Just recently I have gotten very sick, yet I still attend school to take my exams, exams that cost $76 each and may help me save money in college.
I told you repeatedly, and I will repeat again, my mother could not bring my dress. She has work. Unfortunately, we are not financially stable enough to have my mother be a homemaker. I’m sure she would enjoy a work-free schedule. Thus, she must go to work and as a hairdresser, arriving on time for appointments and even walk-ins is crucial. My father must work as well, and his day begins at 5 AM until 5:30 PM doing mundane work and labor. My brother was at home, yes, but he has been very sick. In the beginning his eyes blacked out and he could not see. In the following days he vomited every food item he ate, leaving him weak and growing increasingly thin. He’s had blood tests, a biopsy, and even a camera pill. Should I bother him in the morning to bring me my dress? That’s your call, but as a caring sister I think not.
And yes, I told you, if you wrote me a pass to walk home and get my dress (although a very extreme measure), I would do it. However, to call someone to bring in the dress for me is really not my luxury. Yet here you are, not taking in account the situation at all. All you are concerned about is me getting my dress. As you can see from my previous explanation, it was not doable.
I also do not think it was your place to say that “I’m so brilliant but I can’t figure out something simple like this.” Well, excuse me sir, for being in a bad situation. Have you ever been in a bad situation? I will take this as a learning experience. First thing’s first: when concerning you, I will make sure not to give you the courtesy of informing you that I cannot attend beforehand. Next time, I will just not show up. Secondly, I will remember that there are many people out there that frankly do not care despite the bad situation. I will take the blame and then do what I can, but when all things fail, I will leave those people behind and scoff at them for having no compassion. I admire you for your knowledge and excellent conducting skills, but I have never been fond of your attitude. As a conductor, you are brilliant, but as a teacher you are extremely unprofessional and rude.
After today, the things that bothered me about him before came out. I ignored them before and told myself that I liked him. Indeed, he does nice gestures like buy seminar breakfast on Fridays or buy Chamber Singers a star which I totally appreciate, but his attitude has never impressed me. It made me very uncomfortable.
He is somewhat racist. I am almost certain (though I guess you can never be sure) that most of his racist jokes are just that, jokes. However, as a teacher and an older man, I think it’s highly inappropriate… I try to laugh and tell myself to have some humor, but in all honestly I always wonder if my smile looks totally fake…because it IS fake and I don’t find it all that funny. It’s one thing for a teacher to become “friends” with students and joke around, but racist jokes are a bit too much for me…
When someone has a problem with a performance date, or maybe a girl has forgotten her dress, he always says something along the lines of, “Well…oh well, make it work.” I was never in their shoes before today, but I always felt sorry for them. Is it really their fault for having a job? And the girl who forgot her dress, isn’t it punishment enough that she can’t sing with us?
I always pushed these thoughts into the back of my mind, but now I can finally acknowledge them.