Archive | December, 2013

Civilized Arabs? Lulz!

19 Dec

I have had it. Even though it was only two out of fourteen parents who could actually make it to the parent-teacher conference, it was all I needed to break me.

I have like 24 girls in my class. 14 parents came. Actually wait. 16 did. 2 of them were just mothers – well, animal mothers. Egyptian women, and at the end of the day, all the sympathy I felt for the political crisis inĀ Egypt and all the bloodshed, I lost it all. These two women represented everything Egypt one sees on the news. Lack of respect. Lack of tolerance. Excess of pride. Absence of humility. Absolute reluctance to accepting the truth as it is.

Let’s call my student M. Got a 2.6 out of 5 for behavior. Got a 15 over 25 on the English test. Got a 1.5 over 5 on one spelling quiz. Here is what the mother – who speaks English with a thick Arabic accent by the way with noticeable grammatical errors in speech – had to say to me:

“- I don’t think my daughter is that horrible to receive such a low grade in behavior (denial right there)
– You did not read the test paper for them. If you did she would have gotten a really good grade (the pride)
– You are not doing the vocabulary words with them…. oh you are? By making them write the spelling.. (hello disrespect)
– you don’t love my daughter that is why you are so mean to her (yes my job is to love children rather than teach them that there is rejection out there in the world)
– You probably speak English wrong that is why M got all the spellings wrong, you don’t know how to say the words.” (Scusi? Me? Noh Engleeshh? Vat!?? That is like a huge fart on my American education and work experience and the fact I have been correcting teachers’ grammar errors since I was in the second grade.. so shut yo mouth you freaking barbarian!)

To all of which, I showed her the assesment sheet with all the grades of other students. She said this all in such a high voice the teacher next to me was about to cry hearing the way this woman talked to me. Despite me raising my voice to tell her exactly how the classes are taught, she was unwilling to even allow me to finish. I mean, I do each and every word with definition and several examples and every girl is asked to use them in sentences of their own. I display the test papers on the board, point at each and every word, walk around and read questions for girls who are having trouble. I was hired as a teacher for my English, not my experience. My accent was what was in high demand, that is what parents wanted for their children, that is what some parents showed appreciation for saying they want their children to speak like me. This woman with broken English is telling me to my face I don’t speak the language properly. To which I showed her the grades of other students who got a 100% and said simply, “well they didn’t have any trouble understanding me at any point.”

My heart was racing, I had a severe rapid leg movement episode that lasted like over an hour, but I kept my cool. I stood my ground without one word of disrespect towards her. We were in the auditorium so several teachers and parents walking by could hear her, could see us. The teacher next to me couldn’t take it anymore and went and called the coordinator who told this woman to walk away.

The humiliation I felt… none of the nice things rest of the parents had to say, even ask so politely, made up for it. Nothing of how much their daughters love me, nothing of how much they are learning from me, how they finally found stability with me, nothing of them asking me for suggestions as to what they can do to make my job easier for me. Nothing worked.

For the most part all day I laughed it off, stayed calm, expressed my anger with a smile about how ridiculous this experience was, but then suddenly at home, during one point I just felt it sting so bad I couldn’t help it. I cried and cried like I don’t remember the last time I was this hurt, and it went on for an hour. I kept on washing my face but a minute later it came back and again I repeated forcing myself to smile to feel better but I couldn’t even do that. My prayers were ruined cuz in the middle of them I broke down – I just could not control it!

So I texted the one supervisor who recommended me and told her that until and unless the school makes this woman apologize to me for the uncivilized way she behaved me, I am not going to come to school from next week. It is really the administration’s job to defend me here because they know exactly how I teach, they could only offer discipline suggestions because I was perfect in every other way. They should tell her she had no right to insult me like that and if she has any problem, she can remove her child from the school. They should. That is all I know. If they have any amount of respect for me. If they don’t, I really don’t mind quitting three weeks before I had originally planned to.

It is wrong for all the other girls to suffer cuz I left, but this will be against the school for letting me face such humiliation with such strength (killer outward strength, at least) so early in my experience. I had kept quiet for way too long taking every shit they had to throw at me, accepting it calmly (calm at least to their face) and going along with it. Not anymore. This was the limit. I need my justice or whatever, they can take care of the children with substitutes for the next couple of weeks.

It hurts every time. I had put my heart and soul into teaching my girls. I treated them all equally despite having favorites, I encouraged answers out of them over and over – and when I feel so damn unappreciated doing something I never planned to do but still did an excellent job while at it, it hurts. It hurts when people continue to stab with their knives, they see me covered in blood but they keep stabbing because I am not screaming and still they find another part of my flesh that still hasn’t been stabbed. I am not healing, I have never healed. I just cover up so no new person can see the mess underneath.

This is why I avoid people. I do not want another person to come in and damage any little piece left of me. I am so bad at confrontations because I am so polite and respectful of people who don’t deserve it because they don’t know how to give it. I don’t want to be this person who gets walked on all the time cuz I am so little it is so easy to step on me and crush me. This strength is so fake. I feel fake. Just like all the bandages I put on my students, I am covered in just those. I don’t even know any more why I deal with people after people when they only know how to cause misery.

It’s funny from an outsider’s viewpoint. They can refuse to pay me for the month at most, but I could care less about it. Respect is more important to me at this stage, and I have suffered way too much all my life never standing up for myself. Just… not… anymore.

Hopefully.

For all I know, without trying to be racist here, I am running miles away the next time an Egyptian walks my way. I mean, okay fine… other Egyptian girls are there too in my class. Their parents talked in such a civil manner with me. It showed they are educated people. They accept their children’s weaknesses – they aren’t blinded and they don’t uselessly baby their children, teaching them the word “love” over the word “like”. Way to raise these girls to be yet another generation of needy, clingy, desperate young women.

Some people should refrain from having children seriously. Or at least learn to respect someone trying to civilize your child which you totally ruin for them through the way you behave with others.