TO MY SONS BULLY
Caught between motherhood and teaching
- •*a little backstory*Last week, I worked with a student who bullied my son for most of elementary school. The bullying was so severe that my son found himself scared to go to school. As an educator, I make every effort to trust the teachers to resolve the conflict. However, I am also my childs advocate and I had to be as involved in finding a resolution as possible. Many parent conferences had to be scheduled. Finally we had to move my son to a different class and have a teacher watch over him.
- •First off, I know you didn't recognize meWhen I saw my roster for the day I knew immediately who you were. When you walked in and I introduced myself, I knew you didn't have any awareness of the role you played in my life.
- •I had no intention of letting you know who I wasThe last thing I wanted was to impede our progress and my ability to work with you by making you uncomfortable. So at that moment I was grateful you didn't recognize me, because at this moment I have to be a teacher and not a mom.
- •Your demeanor affected meWhen I met you in elementary school, you were known to me as my sons bully. I never looked at you through the eyes of a teacher before. I had no idea how deep your scars were and how very evident.
- •I saw your fearSomeone made the connection to my son, it happens, he attends the district I work for. When someone explained to everyone that my son was Dylan, that you guys had been in elementary together, I saw your fear. I saw the way you retreated and tried not to talk, I saw the way you became afraid to make eye contact with me.
- •I saw your shockYou expected me to treat you differently, and I knew I had to let you know I've forgiven you. So when I said "yes, I know who each and everyone of you are" and locked eyes with you and smiled at you, I saw your shock. And frankly it broke my heart that you didn't feel entitled to kindness.
- •I felt your painWhen I gave everyone free technology time and your headphones didn't work properly. When someone mentioned how loud your music was and questioned why. They didn't know it was because your headphones were broken. I saw the shame on your face.
- •It wasn't difficultTo hand you my beets and offer for you to use them. To see the look of joy in your eyes when you suddenly became the envy of everyone in the room.
- •I understandAfter some of the things you shared this week, some the heart breaking, sickening things you wrote about that made me see where your pain originated from. I understand.
- •I appreciateThe note you wrote me at the end of the week. Telling me "I'm sorry about Dylan" and then "thank you for being so cool to me". It made me tear up. And I want you to know, you deserve it.