Monday, June 26, 2017

Relieved of a Burden

Me me me me me! It seems that's all I have to write about lately.  Then again, isn't one major point of writing and reading blogs to share glimpses of our lives? That's what I enjoy about the blogs that I read. I have information, but nothing you couldn't find elsewhere on google. My biggest blogging pet peeve is when bloggers share "tips" about things that anyone could either figure out for themselves or find in innumerable other blog posts or articles. Thanks, but I already know how to wear socks/make a bed/fold laundry/cook oatmeal.

ANYWAY. Seamus officially graduated from high school. We have a diploma in hand. At the last minute, he opted not to attend graduation and we were OK with that. Indeed, although all four of my children attended Charlottesville High School, we have never been to a graduation there. That might seem kind of sad to some of you, but we have had a bad relationship with the city schools and so do not feel like a part of the school community. My kids have all had some great teachers and I appreciate how they helped my children develop intellectually. There was, however, one malicious teacher who wrecked the school experience for our entire family, especially since all four of my children were in her classes.

It started with a relatively minor transgression by one of my kids, for which we apologized and gave retribution. That should have been the end of it, but the teacher talked about the transgression to other students, mocked my child to her classes, and gossiped about the incident outside of school, so even years later, my younger kids heard about it from other kids. Not only that, this teacher sent me a vitriolic email with personal attacks against me (about a completely different thing). I complained to the school principal, and was told her behavior was inappropriate and that was the end of it. This woman ruined our family's reputation because of a stupid action by fourteen year old. If I gossiped about a patient the way this teacher gossiped about my family, I would be fired. It's fucked up that the same standard doesn't apply to teachers.

Perhaps it's inappropriate to put this out there on my blog, but for ten years, I didn't say a word, except to a few close friends, while this teacher trashed us with impunity. In the grammar school years, before I felt like I was at war with the system, I was vigorously snubbed by the other parents for reasons I could never determine, although I suspected it was because I was a young parent and a stay-at-home mother. (Much disdained back then.) Charlottesville is a small town and is infected with that vicious small town mentality, where everything one does is judged, and outliers are not accepted. Having lived mostly in big cities prior to moving here, it was a major culture shock and something I'm still not reconciled to. Being gossiped about might be a minor irritation in a big city, but it's devastating in a place the size of Charlottesville. My main impression of the schools here is that once you leave elementary school, children from families that are not perceived as rich or stylish are not valued. Writing this out helped to clear my psyche from a burden, and at this point, I'm mainly feeling massive relief that I never, ever have to interact with the Charlottesville City Schools again.

Other news about Seamus, he got a job as a line cook at a local restaurant. Years ago, he expressed an interest in being a chef, but then became disenchanted with cooking. Now, the chef is teaching him things and I think he likes cooking. He's planning to study journalism and politics in college, but having professional cooking experience will always come in handy.

12 comments:

  1. No tips on minimalism followed by multiple posts of "Friday Finds!"? I'm collapsing into my smoothie bowl of kale and oatmeal without any affiliate links here. I think I'll research weight loss tips from people who think mustard is a substitute for salad dressing.

    Charlottesville is a very small, very petty town. We can only hope that the vicious teacher gets her comeuppance. I hope I can find some good recipes for Schadenfreude when that time comes.

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    1. Not Beehive, your first paragraph has me smothering guffaws in my office.

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    2. OMG, mustard as salad dressing!

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  2. Well, I've met you in person, so I know that snubbing you was definitely the town's loss!

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  3. I honestly didn't feel unvalued as a parent because of our income level until we got to CHS. And it's pretty much just by that one teacher. Maybe that's because all the way through elementary and middle school, I was super involved. Either way, I refuse to be cowed by someone who's ego is too big for this town.

    Yay for Seamus. Professional kitchen skills are also essential life skills in my humble opinion. Having read some of his articles in the school paper, I think he'll be a fantastic journalist.

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    1. Thank you! He really does like to write.

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  4. I'm really sorry you had such a shitty experience with that teacher. We've had mostly exceptional experiences with CHS teachers but I'm still ready to close the door on high school (11.5 months, but who's counting?).

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    1. We had mostly good (or at least neutral) experiences too, but this one person overshadowed the good.

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  5. We're still a few years out from dealing with the public schools, but now I have to ask: is this teacher of an age that she is likely to be retired by the time Maggie reaches that age? So, 11-12 years from now? Or is she likely to be one of those who hangs forever just for spite?

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    1. It's hard to say, but potentially this teacher could still be there in ten years.

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  6. How frustrating. I'd be pretty angry if a teacher did that--and I've found myself defending some families to people in our district over the years. Educators simply CANNOT be petty like that. Aside from people changing, you're right about the confidentiality issues, too. Most people around here are pretty good about keeping tight-lipped. Though everyone knows why the one teacher got fired this spring...despite everyone's best effort to keep it on the down low (she showed up really drunk at 8:00 a.m.).
    I skipped my own hs graduation, I have no patience for those sorts of ceremonies. If my kids wanted to skip it, I'd be just fine with that choice!

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