Yes, I am about to admit something terrible.
Teachers do not like all of their students.
In fact, there are some we cannot stand.
We try to like them all. We give them endless chances to prove that they aren’t as rotten as they want us to believe. We search for common ground so that we can somehow relate to them. we give them far more chances then they honestly deserve.
(After all, in the real world, if you are a jerk, people don’t keep letting you start over. They remember it.)
I hate admitting this, but it is the truth.
Some students suck.
They think that because they are kids, that there are no consequences to their terrible choices of stupid actions. That when they say hateful, hurtful things, it doesn’t really hurt anyone.
But they are wrong.
This past year, I have had to battle against some particularly mean students. A certain group of kids decided that they wanted to be the trolls to end all trolls. They created fake social media profiles. They constantly bullied other kids. They spread nasty rumors. They went out of their way to try to build awful atmospheres in our program.
I kept myself constantly busy trying to keep it at bay.
I recently found out that they had made a T-shirt that they sold to their classmates that had all of their inside jokes on it. Fine.
One of the jokes was a dig against me. It was coded, but I had already dealt with the code earlier this year. It was pretty centered on the shirt, too. Clearly they thought it was one of the highlights of the year.
Whatever. It isn’t like I will have to see them again.
Several of my students want to keep in contact, so they can tell me about their shows, continue to ask questions, etc. Whether they had been part of the original joke or not, the fact that they supported the shirt enough to buy it themselves hurt.
I relate it to Hobby Lobby.
I love crafty stuff. I used to shop at HL a ton. But I learned that I disagree with the owners on some pretty large issues. So I choose to not support their business with my money. Do I still love crafting? Of course. But I can find stuff I like at other places.
Those who are silent when they see something wrong may not feel they are supporting it, but without going against it, they are.
So I told all of those students no. I simply said that I had found out some information that made me uncomfortable and that I wished them all the best of luck.
This makes me feel really badly. I gave those kids everything for three years. But I need to take care of myself.
Teenagers or not, the toxicity has to go. Some students ruined it for everyone.
It wasn’t my job to tell them what I had learned, but chances are they knew who the culprits were. What they choose to do with that is up to them.
Maybe they will learn to not passively sit by.
Maybe they will learn to speak up.
Maybe they will actually confront the rude ones and maybe – MAYBE – the rude ones will realize that they ruined things for a lot of people because they were selfish, manipulative, negative beings.
I doubt it.
Some people are just awful.