Monday, June 28, 2010
My 15 Seconds of Fame
We interrupt this morning wrestling/head butting session with the Former Baby to share this important story with you.
As a public educator, I am well versed in rules about confidentiality. I am not at liberty to share any information about a child to pretty much anyone. I can't even tell a parent the name of other children involved in a fight. I have to shred all their documents and be cautious when emailing. If you've never worked in a public school, you may not know that the dreaded "L" word, "lawsuit," is held over our heads constantly. The sad fact is that people can, and will, do just about anything to make some money. In the public school system, we serve a lot of people who are just waiting for any small slip up in order to make a profit. It is a breach of confidentiality for teachers to even discuss students with other teachers, privately, in the work room, or at lunch.
So, I am typically very cautious. I even have insurance in case that someone ever tries to sue me. That is part of what makes the following story just so ridiculous.
Several years ago, I had a student we will call Boris. Boris was an interesting child. He had some behavior issues and had to be carried out of the classroom by a counselor many times. At the end of the year, my class made me a special book of memories. Boris' contribution to the book had a list. The list was titled: "Ten Things I Like About Non-Mommy and Five Things I Don't Like." Ahh, memories.
One day, Boris came into the classroom and he just looked...different. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with Boris. Honestly, he looked a little sick. I stared at Boris, who acted as if everything was ok. What was different about Boris?
Then, I realized what had changed. Boris no longer had any eyebrows. He looked like a cancer patient.
"Boris," I said, stifling a laugh, "where are your eyebrows?"
"Oh, I was shaving all of the hair off of my body and I shaved them off."
"Ok." I responded. I then had to lean under my desk to hide the fact that I was laughing hysterically.
Boris was bothered by the taunts and teases of his classmates. He lashed out at them several times. Being the sensitive, thoughtful person that I am, I found many excuses to send Boris to other teachers on "errands." Usually, the "errand" involved a note stapled shut that said "Look at Boris' eyebrows (or lack of). I just had to show you what he'd done. Pretend this is a serious note."
Boris, being quite notorious in the school prior to this incident, was a secret celebrity among the teachers. Everyone wanted to see Boris. Some teachers found reasons to pop into my classroom just to see.
Disclaimer: Not that I would EVER laugh at a student, and most certainly teachers are not to talk about their students! End of disclaimer.
So, fast forward a few days. I was getting ready for school, turned on the radio, and stepped into the shower. As I stepped out of the shower, I heard the DJ's on the radio say that it was National Education Week and that any teachers listening should call in to win a prize. I quickly picked up the phone, dialed the number, and was shocked to hear that I had gotten through and would be getting a prize! I didn't realize at the time that the prize would be a Kathy Lee Gifford book and CD. Had I known that, I would have never even called.
So I chatted with the DJ's during a song, not really thinking about what was happening. I mean, I'd heard radio stations warn that you could be recorded any time you call a radio station, and that you should be prepared to have your conversation broadcast on the air. I even made fun of that disclaimer, thinking that anyone who would call a radio station and say things they don't want recorded was an idiot.
Hi. I am an idiot.
The DJ's said something about being glad I didn't have them as students. I then, in my best comedic style, told the story about the student who shaved off his eyebrows. I made fun of him. And I laughed hysterically at my own witty style. It was pleasant. I hung up the phone and continued to get ready for work.
Ten minutes later, I heard a song end, and then...my own voice. They had recorded the conversation. And there I was, on the radio for all to hear, making fun of my student.
My blood immediately ran cold. I became nauseated and panicked. I called my mother and told her what I'd done, and she shrieked into the phone "How could you do that, Non-Mommy? They could sue you! What were you thinking?" I burst into tears.
All the way to work, I cried like a baby. My career was over. I was going to be sued and I didn't even have a cute outfit to wear to court. How many people heard that? What would my boss say? How could I sacrifice my job for a lame Kathy Lee Gifford book and CD? I prayed all the way to work.
"Dear God, please, please, please let no one have heard my dumb self on the radio. Please don't let me lose my job. Please let the mother not sue me. And please, please let Boris listen to any other radio station but that one. I'm really sorry. If you want, I'll even name my first child Boris as penitence. I know that radio station signal is not strong, so please please please let it not work at Boris' house."
When I got to school, I told a few people about it. No one had heard me. I then came up with a GREAT writing prompt activity for my students! Let's write about your favorite radio station and why! Also, please tell me what kind of music and what radio stations your family listens to.
Not one of them listened to this station. The station is too far away from this community and it sounds fuzzy there. Also, they all listen to country music, and this was not a country music station.
God bless tiny, rural schools in the middle of no where.
Somehow, I got away with my major social gaffe. I still thank God to this day that I am employed. And I am much more cautious about sharing information.
Even with the internet. Ha.
Boris, I hope your eyebrows have grown back and that you are happy and totally unaware that for a brief moment, you were famous for your shaving habits.