How Do You Know

Written Fall of 2009

An attempt at humorous sarcasm

How do you know that your life sucks?  Is it when you quit your medical editing job to teach at a Mennonite high school, only to have the students organize a petition to have you fired?  Or is it when you see your church of 16 years argue and disagree over whether a sex offender should attend our services?

Well, 2008 was a doosey of a year where I experienced both of these…and lived to tell about it.  For awhile I thought I might have to take my life, but then I decided to write.  I’d write about these awful experiences and perhaps show others that there is life after public humiliation and church dissension.

The public humiliation came in 2009 when I went to hear the seniors speak from the Mennonite high school where I had taught.  I listened to 11 speeches and 4 mentioned me.  That seemed like a high percentage when I was only there for 5 months out of their 4 years.  Well, I knew I was in trouble when one of them started sounding very angry about reading only one book during her high school career.  She had read the Great Gatsby and it had been in my class.  No need to get a puffed head though because she was “made to read the book out loud every day.”  And if that weren’t bad enough, the teacher (me) made her behave or threatened to call her parents.  Well, they showed this teacher.  They got a petition signed to have her fired!

OK, well how do you quietly get up from a speech such as this without being noticed?  Do you talk to a few persons afterwards, casually acting like it didn’t faze you that you were discussed as if you were a neurotic teacher from hell?  Or do you slink out of the room with your head down as if the shame may erase the forged memory from people’s brains?  And how do you face the many persons, some friends, that were in that room listening to the speech?  Do you mention the fact that you feel like a piece of refuse that might as well jump off a bridge …or do you ignore the subject totally, keeping your pasted smile placid?  Is it appropriate that for the next few weeks whenever someone asks you how you’re doing, you assume they are referring to how embarrassed you must be? Is there hope for the publically humiliated teachers of this world?  Or is it best to just quietly pretend it didn’t happen….and look for other employment?

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Know

    • Thanks, Mary. I’m still dealing with the psychological effects of that experience, but haven’t tried high school teaching since. The hardest part is just wondering why I seemed to feel so called to take that position and even quit my job…only to have it end so horribly. One of my life’s mysteries, I guess. Thanks!

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