As a teacher, I attend a lot of meetings. PLC meetings to plan instruction or to grade. Grade-level meetings about 8th grade issues. Faculty meetings. IEP meetings. Student behavior meetings. Evaluation meetings. They never seem to end, and I never seem to have enough time to attend all the required meetings and do all my other work too. And yet, yesterday I volunteered to go to an extra meeting on Monday, one at which my attendance might be considered less a standard part of my job....and more a declaration of war.
I mentioned yesterday that I'm going to this meeting because the student involved asked me to be there. Specifically, it's the Antagonizer. His current Language Arts teacher kicked him out of class this week, for the entire week, and told the whole class that she was doing it because he didn't want them to learn, he just wanted to distract them all and hold them back.
Now, I of all people know how incredibly obnoxious the Antagonizer can be. He is truly gifted at getting under people's skin - it's actually pretty remarkable, from sort of an anthropological perspective, when you're not the one he's harassing. So I can sympathize there.
But I also know that he's still a child, and that he's capable of trying and learning, and that he'll do it if he believes that the teacher actually gives a crap about his education. And I know that his current teacher speaks to students (and sometimes adults) more rudely than any other teacher I have ever met, and I know that you shouldn't talk about kids that way to their peers.
So I'm going to this meeting, even though the teacher will probably take it as a personal affront and will react accordingly. I'm going because this kid deserves better - because all her kids deserve better - and because in the end, my job is to promote my students' achievement. I might not have the Antagonizer in class anymore, but he's still my student and I still care about his success, and I can testify to his ability to achieve that success in a different setting.
She fired the first shot. It might not have been aimed at me, but it grazed me nonetheless, because I can't just walk away from a kid whose educational opportunities are draining out of him more and more each day. I'm in. Scared, but in.
(Image credit to yngvarda)