I walked into your first period class one Fall morning in the year 2000, excited about my new asymmetrical bob and my acceptance letter to college. When no one had heard of this college, I explained that it was a private, liberal arts women's college, and you belted out, "Well great! Now you'll be even MORE of a dyke!" in front of the entire class. Truth be told, I had no idea what the word dyke meant, but the collective "OOHHHHHHH!" of the entire class ensured me that I was yet again being bullied. Except instead of my classmates, it was you -- my teacher.
Do you remember this day? Because I do. It is etched into my memory permanently, and although I have often told this story with a sense of humor as if it were this funny thing that happened to me this one time -- it's not this funny thing that happened to me one time. It wasn't funny then, it isn't funny now, and bullying your students will never be funny.
I was so excited to be taking this class, an excitement that barely lasted six weeks, because not only were there absolutely no consequences for your behavior, but I was the one that was removed from your class and sent to be an office aid. (Don't worry, I turned out to be pretty successful anyway.)
I watched you bully other students, too. I know I'm not the only one, even though I can only speak for my own experiences. But you forgot to take something into consideration: The students you bullied 15 years ago grew up, published some cool artwork, and became HuffPost bloggers.
I couldn't stand up for myself then, but I can stand up for myself now, so that is exactly what I am doing.
Don't bully your students. Support them, teach them, inspire them. And remember that you are a public servant influencing impressionable young minds. What you say and do with your students every day has an incredible impact on our world. What kind of world do you want to help create?
To all of my amazing teachers, thank you. What you say and do with your students every day has an incredible impact on our world. So many wonderful teachers work so hard with little pay, few resources, and little recognition. Know that so many do appreciate you, including me.