The last two days I’ve been really upset over an email that a parent sent me in response to their kid missing two assignments in my class. All late work, per school policy, was due on Friday but there was an email sitting in my inbox, waiting to be read bright and early Monday morning. Clearly if I’m upset you know that it wasn’t a positive email.
I drafted three emails before deciding I needed to step away from my computer, take a breath and wait a little while before responding. I stewed about this email all day and into the evening when I finally talked to Carl about it and had made some kind of peace with it, trying not to take it so personally.
Then this morning it was there. Another email. Sent to clarify something from the response I finally did send yesterday. Again I started to draft another email, sending a response and this time telling the parent how the email made me feel. Tears started rolling down my face. In homeroom. With three students watching it happen. I went to the bathroom to compose myself and returned a few minutes later with bloodshot eyes, tear stains on my shirt, and a smile on my face. An email from an angry parent shouldn’t define me. I have bright minds to inspire and teach. I make a difference! I have to hold it together and make sure my students are ready for their exam! The three students looked at me sympathetically, but didn’t mention a word of it to me or the other students who had entered the room. I was very grateful for that.
I’d like to say that I was able to get some clarity after talking to the student today but honestly, the response that I received made me even more upset than I had been about the emails. Nice.
I know that all of these feelings of hurt come from a place of perfectionism and being a people pleaser. I know that these feelings of hurt come from someone saying something that made me feel like I wasn’t doing the best that I can as an educator. I know that these feelings of hurt are my own and how I react is in my control.
I just hope there isn’t another email waiting for me in my inbox tomorrow morning.
Normally I wouldn’t write something like this on my blog, but this post is in response to the following prompt: “What’s been on your mind? What have you carried and gnawed over?” (From Old Friend from Far Away, page 154.) that I saw on Freckled Italian’s blog this afternoon. I just couldn’t keep this in today.