Once you get a glimpse behind that curtain, there’s no going back.
It happened one Friday afternoon when my 5-year-old’s teacher returned my call for an update on her progress. Mizz Dizzy, as she’ll aptly be referred to for the remainder of this unfortunate true story, left a brief, upbeat message for me to call her back on the school telly, or on her personal celly. (Sorry, I have a tendency to rhyme and camp-it-up when sharing painful experiences – it’s a coping mechanism!!)
Anyhoo, I recall being touched by her brief message filled with apparent warmth, concern and dedication.
"How considerate! Our girl, “Sandy,” is so fortunate to have such an attentive teacher,” I thought.
Yes, the husband and I had our concerns about Mizz Dizzy (well, she’s kinda disorganized, forgetful and struggles with classroom management considerably), but we’d always given her the benefit of the doubt. It was like, “Sure she’s dippy as all hell, but at least at she’s caring and respectful of the children.”
After politely bidding me adieu, Mizz Dizzy made the mistake of hanging up the receiver, but activating the speaker, and no sooner than the phone clicked into broadcast mode, Dizzy launched into a cruel bitchfest with the teacher whose phone she’d used to make the ill-fated call.
Mortified, I listened as she told the other instructor (who, due to both his intimidating stature AND approach towards to the children, shall go by Rambo) how much Sandy and her friends “infuriated” her that day. She saved her most venomous attack for one kindergartner who she began to cruelly imitate, because she found him “so disrespectful” and “really fucking irritating.” I was gutted. I remember thinking, “Holy Shyte. This broad is Dr. Jekyll/Ms. Hyde.”
The phone was fastened to my head, like I was some sort of hostage to their malicious banter.
Sounding more like victim of rowdy delinquents than a responsible early childhood instructor, Mizz Dizzy whined to Rambo that she knows she shouldn’t get so enraged, “but these kids just know how to push her buttons.” (Poor Mizz Dizzy -– the struggles you must face managing 11 kindergartners in a private school with only one student teacher on hand).
The hostile tirade went on for 3 whole minutes!
The rant came to a rather staged closed when I can only assume the phone’s speaker light finally came into Rambo’s awareness. His tenor changed instantaneously. Frenzied, whispered chatter became measured, oddly crafted phrases designed to flip the script. A new persona emerged; This dude suddenly came off like a PSA spokesman on responsible childhood behavior.
His voice grew louder, obviously making his way closer to that dreaded telephone. Rambo concluded his deliberate, clumsy (and IMO dishonest) soliloquy: “I give them several choices … but like I always say to [the students], the choice is theirs.” Click!
In an attempt to undo the undoable, it was painfully evident that he knew the entire bitchfest had been recorded & judging by the few awkward utterances in the final seconds of the call, I am certain Mizz Dizzy knew too.
In those initial moments after the message terminated, I was floored, not to mention violated. This was unprecedented territory and your girl was lost at sea. I remember the sensation: it was as if my heart was the epicenter of a massive earthquake that shook me to the very core. In fact, I was so shook up, that I dropped my dang phone in an attempt to notify my husband of what I’d just heard –- and shattered a portion of the screen.
I mean it’s one thing to imagine someone harboring ill sentiments toward your child. To actually hear those thoughts expressed with such clarity and vehemence? It was at this point that I became engulfed by a sense of rage I’d never known.
I can say with certainty that the only thing that kept me from going off like a full-blown rageaholic was our little girl. There was no choice but to proceed rationally when it’s Sandy’s well-being that was hanging in the balance.
Those harsh words were never meant for my ears, but that was their final destination nonetheless. Neither my husband nor I could get over the sheer contempt in their voices. I shuddered to think they could feel such bitterness and resentment for 5 and 6-year-old children.
I think most would agree that the logical step forward would be to confront said teachers on the matter. Makes perfect sense to me, however one irrefutable fact remains: There’s not one thing those two could possibly say to restore our respect or trust in them. Period.
Now we find ourselves at one helluva intersection. One careless mistake has left my husband and I with a mess of uncomfortable emotions, difficult decisions, not to mention the unexpected bonus of invaluable insight.
I’d like to end this bizarre tale by stating the obvious: Nobody’s perfect. A mamma of 2 young ones such as myself knows a thing or two about children's innate ability to test one’s patience.
So I’ll close by suggesting that teachers & child care providers -– hell, anyone who feels the need to talk shyte on a little person –- you had better keep that garbage under lock ‘n’ key or you might just end up in worse shape than the unsuspecting parent who catches wind of your wicked words.