November 2, 2022- Perception is 9/10 of reality.
The young woman stood resolutely in front of me, demanding to now why I was focusing my attention on her small group of friends. It was simple: They were not working as expected, and had no intention of doing so. A flood of “whatabout___ and_____” was offered as a rebuttal to my reminders to get the work done. Those groups had completed their assignments, and thus earned her scorn. Being found wrong is a hard thing at any age, but particularly at 15 or 16.
Nonetheless, there is much to respect and admire about Leah (not her real name). Her work habits of this morning aside, she has more integrity in her thumbnail than a good many adults I know. I will also never discourage forthrightness and speaking truth to power. I am sure that she regarded my watching them as a form of stalking, a suspicion borne of God knows what unwanted attention, from whom.
This was one of those occasions where I stepped outside of myself-seeing a mistake in approach to a management problem and drawing insight on how I might have done things differently. A skipped assignment can always be made up. It was explained to me later, by an administrator, that Leah was having a hard time of late. As mentioned earlier, there is always a back story.
This is all a bit ironic, as for 43 of my 45 years in education, my focus has always been the well-being of the child. (The first two years were spent in a system where teachers were feeling their way out of the Dark Ages, and my track record was not all that wonderful. Remorse and atonement are wondrous things.)
As it happened, later on today, a case of verbal harassment of another student was handled swiftly-and the miscreant ended up apologizing to his target-and to the class. I am favourably impressed by the administrators at that school.
As for Leah, and any student-especially a girl or young woman-the thought of me looking upon her with lascivious eyes- ummm, not even! Perception is 9/10 of reality, however-so, it’s wise to mind the perception.
We all see things through the lens of our own experience which in some cases tints reality not for the better. The suspicious nature of her demeanor speaks volumes about her back story… Glad it all worked out!
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I wonder what such people are being taught and how they are being treated.