It was a long day. Started early (6:15) with a call from the school, could I come in? And by the way, it's field trip day... yes, sure, I'll be there.
School was fine, the field trip was fine, everything OK. This particular class I have subbed for before, so I knew the kids' names, which is very helpful on a field trip.
The last time that I subbed for this class, there was the usual "oh, there's a sub, let's see what we can get away with" behavior, which I worked hard to squelch with only moderate success. Part of the squelching efforts included telling one kid not to abuse classroom privileges by making distracting noises.
That reprimand started what has become for me a situation, because the kid's parent also works at the school. The next time the parent saw me, I heard about it: You yelled at my kid. I wasn't sure whether or not it was a joke, and I didn't realize that this person was the kid's parent. I didn't even remember having issued the reprimand until the details were laid out. Apparently -- again, I'm still not sure whether or not the parent was just kidding with me -- I made the kid cry. I certainly didn't see any tears at the time, that's for sure; they would have been a disproportionate response.
Anyway, since then, which is 5 weeks ago to the day, whenever I see this parent I inevitably hear things like, So, did you make any kids cry today?, or comments to other staff members like, She's really mean, you know. She yelled at my kid and made him cry.
To which I can only shrug my shoulders and respond, I didn't yell at the kid.
Up till today, this has irritated me but not to the point where it followed me home, so to speak. Today's encounter was different, because I was once again subbing the kid's class. Today I got something like this: You better be nice to my kid or I'll beat you up. That's not an exact quote, but it gives the gist.
Understand this: I'm not a small woman, even just wearing tennis shoes I'm fully 5'8", but on the thin side. This parent is at least 3 inches taller than me and could definitely beat me up. My response to the comment was(resorting to humor because really, what choice did I have?): Yeah, you probably could. I have to put on heels to even look you in the eye.
That happened mid-afternoon, and then I was busy, and took DD to try out for the swim team (she endured the entire practice!), came home, had a quick supper, and headed up to Scottsdale for the thyca support group meeting, which was actually a "stuff folders in preparation for Saturday's workshop meeting." And then home again.
And during those long drives to and from Scottsdale, I realized that I was being bullied. Even if it's unintentional, I still have to put a stop to it.
I talked this over with DH and he agrees. So my strategy is to say nothing unless I hear another comment, and then my reply will be: You know, that's getting old. I wish you'd drop it. And then if it's not dropped, I can talk to someone in the administration about it.
I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble here, but I'm tired of being bad-mouthed this way, even if "it's just a joke!" (Which is what I'm sure the parent would say.) I am an inexperienced teacher and I do make mistakes, but I don't need this kind of second-guessing. Worst of all, I can't tell whether or not the parent really is upset with me; when the subject was first broached, I answered the questions about what happened sincerely and apologized if the kid got overly upset by being told to hush. But seriously, am I suppose to let a kid do whatever for fear of a parent's nasty reprisals?
Being a substitute is hard enough, and for the most part I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I'm happy to listen to criticism if it is paired with advice on how I could've handled that particular situation better. I'm not happy, and never will be happy, with being threatened with a beat-down and being tagged as mean, even if those are supposedly some kind of joke.
Am I overly sensitive? Do I even have a sense of humor about my own faults? No to the first, yes -- hell, yes -- to the second. But this stopped being "just a joke" at least a week ago. Now it's just old, and it's got to stop.