Do you really think I’d make for a dangerous/intimidating school teacher?

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  • Anonymous
    December 6, 2022 at 12:57 am #1117052

    Do you really think it’s reasonable for someone to say “I feel unsafe and don’t want him here while I’m here” about me? I can’t have that be the case if I’m gonna be a school teacher.

    I (20M) graduated high school in 2020, and enrolled in an online community college business program for that fall. Right after I started classes, my neighbor and mom’s friend (67F), who was the principal at my old childhood elementary school, offered me a job there. I started as a volunteer helper for the preschool class in September 2020, and became the school’s librarian (technically I was a part-time tutor, but they had me running the library by myself) when I became a paid employee in October 2020, with an additional side job as a lunchtime supervisor, earning a pre-tax income of $979.28/month working 19 hours/week. I ended up liking the job and working with the kids so much that I basically lost all interest and abandoned my business college classes and failed out of the semester.

    When my second year started in August 2021, the school got a new principal, and they also switched my side job to being the cafeteria clerk, which kept my weekly hours the same, but brought my pre-tax income down to $865.88/month. They also moved library visit times to recess, which resulted in a lot of classes skipping out on library time for kinda obvious reasons. Also, during the summer of 2021, I started smoking weed regularly on a daily basis, and I thought it helped keep my attitude positive and made me a cheerier person to be around the kids, so I didn’t feel like it was a big deal at all. I never smoked or brought that stuff *on campus*, and if a child ever saw me out somewhere smoking (because I can’t do it at the condo resort where I live, so I go out to parks/beaches), I would say “get outta here, smoking is grown-up stuff, this isn’t for kids, etc”, trying to *discourage* them from doing it. The teachers and staff at that school all smoke weed too though, so I didn’t really take it seriously when the new principal told me that they were complaining about my weed use, and assumed she was just speaking out of obligation and didn’t truly personally care.

    I kept on with business as usual though, until I got into ONE simple, no-big-deal conflict with ONE person in May 2022, just a few weeks before the school year ended. What happened was that I’d gotten sick and puked on a Tuesday, so they sent me home. I came back to work that Thursday because I knew I was healthy (I actually wasn’t even sick, I knew exactly what made me puke, but that’s a different story). However, the school informed me that I had to go home because I needed to either be out for 5 days or come back 2 days after taking a negative covid test, which meant I couldn’t come back until the following Monday. I was annoyed though because that meant I’d be missing out on all the money I’d be making on those days, and I would have nothing else to do for all those days, so I was sighing and ranting under my breath as I walked out. However, I walked past the preschool teacher, who told me to watch my mouth, and I stopped to take a breath and said “sorry, you’re right…”, and then she cut me off and snapped at me to “watch your mouth!” like a grouchy bitch, after I tried to apologize. I was a little bit put off by that to say the least, so I flipped her off when I thought everyone wasn’t looking (I made sure *kids* weren’t looking, but didn’t count on this one teacher’s aide lady), and then she started calling me back, demanding I come over and talk to her. She wasn’t my boss though, meaning she had no authority to command me as far as I was concerned, so I just left without saying a word, and she started tauntingly saying “don’t come back, then”. I didn’t even take that seriously though. The principal was out during this time, and I still made it back to work the following Monday and Tuesday.

    But I got a phone call from the principal telling me not to come into work on Wednesday and that she was going to put me under “leave pending investigation” because of complaints she received about that incident. She was supposed to interview the people who complained, then interview me, then decide what to do. But she didn’t call me in until after the school year ended, and then she gave me this bullshit speech that the teachers and staff were complaining and concerned about me reacting to things unpredictably and being fearful of the kids safety, and she/they blamed it on the fact that I smoke weed and am stoned a lot. She literally said “there are people who are saying ‘I do not want him on campus while I am on campus'”. It must’ve just been either one or two bitter assholes, or the principal making that up just as an excuse to throw me out, because I got along great with pretty much all the teachers and the kids LOVED me, that’s a FACT. There’s no way I can even fathom how someone would think I’d be dangerous around kids. I still see my old coworkers out in the community, and they all agree that the principal was the only one who didn’t like me and that I shouldn’t have been terminated. **The kids wouldn’t be running to hug me and begging to come back to the school every time they see me out in public if they felt unsafe to be around me.**

    I spent the last 6 months looking for other jobs and trying side hustles and business startups, most of us didn’t do that well, so I’m making the choice to pursue what I wanna do seriously, even if for nothing more than to rub it in that old principal’s face. In the meantime, I guess I could look for part-time/substitute work as a classroom aide at another elementary school (I’ve already passed the qualification exam), if I can somehow explain to them what happened and prove to them that I’d be a good/safe fit for the job at the same time. I’ve decided to try to go back to school this spring and get an ECE degree as an extra way of proving myself and making myself appear more valuable.

    But how can I become a teacher and work with young kids if people are saying I’m some sort of dangerous person? How do I get the adults to like me and value me as much as those kids I worked with did?

    December 6, 2022 at 5:43 am #1117053


    This episode sounds like when you got kicked out of the youth community center. Definitely a pattern, not an isolated incident.

    I don’t know what to tell you. You think rules don’t apply to you. You behave erratically and get in confrontations with people. You can’t regulate your emotions even when self-medicating with weed. You’re arrogant.

    Look, I’ll take you at your word that kids like you. But that’s not to say that you should be in a paid position of responsibility for children. Not even as a babysitter anymore, if you’re constantly smoking weed. And at any job, anywhere, you have to follow their rules and policies and be polite.

    At this point, you could either give community college another try, with a job at a store or something, or join the military.

    December 6, 2022 at 6:04 am #1117054

    How you get adults to like and value you is by:

    Showing up for work every day on time or early
    Not being under the influence
    Being respectful and polite
    Doing your job but also exceeding expectations and taking on more responsibility
    Not openly flouting rules

    It’s actually not that complicated.

    December 6, 2022 at 6:37 am #1117055

    Oh hey dude! Welcome back.

    I haven’t partaken in any illicit drugs in a long time. Not because I don’t want to but because there’s always the chance that I’m going to get drug tested. I work with clients who sometimes require a drug test as part of their security routine. I work office jobs.

    You’re working with little kids – weed is not OK. Even if other teachers are doing it, it’s not OK.

    You’re still not in control of your emotions. I really think you need some kind of meditation or other self-management exercises because this is going to keep happening.

    You don’t like authority and I have a feeling that comes through in every single interaction with anyone who is older or more established. And yeah, most people are going to just let it slide, but petty people with power are your kryptonite and will do everything they can to fuck you over. And they will win 99% of the time. They know how to play the game better.

    Where do you go from here? Start recognizing that some people have skills and knowledge you don’t. Ask to learn from them. Ask people about themselves. Why are they working with kids? What’s the best thing they’ve learned so far? What’s the worst thing they’ve seen while at work? What did they do? Even the pettiest of petty people probably have something they can teach you (probably). Stop assuming that everyone else is stupid.

    December 6, 2022 at 7:12 am #1117056

    Yes. Was doing well enough in life to where I didn’t feel the need to come write on here for over 2 years, yet here we are now. I mean the fact that it’s been 2 years should kinda say something, right? I feel like when there’s yearS (with an S at the end), you can’t really assume that anything is gonna be the same; you have to look at it with fresh eyes and “reset” what you think you know.

    I literally tried to take a deep, slow breath and started to apologize even though I didn’t need to, because I genuinely felt bad, and she snapped and yelled at me again “Watch Your Mouth!” like a self-important bitch. Clearly miserable/stressed about something I didn’t care about or probably didn’t matter. Then she was tauntingly yelling at me to get me to come back just to escalate the argument. What did I do? Lift a finger, and then refused to engage in a situation that was clearly escalating.

    I am a firm believer of the philosophy that “the calm one is usually right”. The person who’s speaking/behaving in a quiet tone (or not really speaking at all) will always have more validity than the person who chooses to let their emotions take over and become loud/excited.

    It’s like one of my old teacher coworkers once said to me, your emotions and how you choose to act when you have them is 100% your choice and your responsibility. Therefore, I can’t really sympathize with people who overstress, feel more important than they actually are, and snap at people for minor small things, because it just feels to me like they’re choosing to act that way instead of just doing something to be happy/joyful and put a damn smile on their face. It’s not that hard. It just so happens to be much easier to do that when I’m stoned (I’m never stoned when I get into these kinds of situations, so how can that possibly be causing these situations?).

    As for the weed and me not being good for kids, that part I wanted to respond to the most. First of all, you seem to have that preconceived bias about weed that it’s a “dangerous drug”, and that the people who smoke it are generally “intimidating thugs” whom you wouldn’t want around your children, which confuses me because I remember you saying you smoked weed when you were younger; therefore you should know better than that.

    I wanna ask, who exactly is harmed or put in danger by simple weed smoking?, That’s something genuinely can’t fathom anymore. I used to be afraid of it because of everything that happened with my dad and brothers over the years; real, genuine drug addiction with going to jail, getting into fights, being aggressive to strangers and abusive to their own families (I’ve talked about that before) I used to think weed just the same as everything else, believed all the bullshit psa lies. Then I was finally told the actual truth: that they were on meth/cocaine, hard shit, actual real drugs. My views did not transform overnight by any means, but I started to feel like I had been blaming the wrong drug all my life. I remember how scary my dad was when my parents divorced due to his meth habit, and now that I knew it was actually meth that turned him into monster and not weed, that’s when I lost all inhibitions and genuinely stopped being able to be fearful of weed. Final nail in the coffin was seeing my dad smoke weed, but not ice, and still being the same happy, awesome guy to be around that I knew, NOT some drugged up monster. People who are afraid of weed and wanna shield their kids from it are spoiled in my eyes.

    Like what, you think I’m gonna go apeshit and throw paint cans at the kids? Or chase them down the road while they run away I terror? That’s actual drug behavior that I’ve genuinely seen in real life right there, and that’s WHY those drugs aren’t legal, while everyone is trying to get weed legal (we’re already up to 20 states).

    December 6, 2022 at 7:54 am #1117057

    Yeah I smoked weed as a kid and it made me feel euphoric and do dumb, obnoxious, and dangerous things. To be responsible for kids you need to be alert, thinking clearly, and with good judgment and control of yourself and the situation.

    December 6, 2022 at 7:57 am #1117058

    I don’t think weed is a dangerous drug. Shit, I think weed is less dangerous than alcohol. But, imbibing before working with children is absolutely ridiculous. Weed slows your reflexes, which means you’re less able to respond to emergencies. If someone told me they took a Xanax or put a shot of whiskey in their morning coffee before school I’d have the same response.

    There’s a time and a place for drugs. School grounds are not the place.

    And I appreciate that you believe in calm and that you did try to apologize. That truly shows progress and I’m sorry that I didn’t acknowledge that. Sadly you’re learning that bullies exist in all places. It’s not fair to you. Maybe it’s directed at you because you’re young, or she wanted a friend or relative to have your position, who the hell knows? But, it does sound like you’re keeping your temper and I’m proud of you for that. Again, I apologize for not recognizing that progress in my earlier post.

    I think you have to keep working on your professional demeanor. Continue to focus on calm. But at some point you have to figure out how to let assholes not get under your skin. Yeah, weed may help, but again, not really cool to be high at work and super fire-able.

    December 6, 2022 at 8:03 am #1117059

    You flipped this woman the bird at work. I appreciate your awareness of needing to stay calm and not engage, but flipping someone off is literally the opposite of that.

    December 6, 2022 at 8:16 am #1117060

    Oh damn, I missed that. Oh dude, not calm. Not professional. Definitely fireable. Cussing out a co-worker, whether verbal or non-verbal, will never go well for you.

    December 6, 2022 at 8:17 am #1117061

    Also, look, you were working in food service. They can’t have something like norovirus spreading around the school, so if someone throws up at work they have to enforce a policy. That is acceptable. Being grumpy or stressed at work, while not great, is also acceptable, particularly if you’re senior. Coming into work against policy, or flipping the bird (an extremely rude, provocative, and disrespectful gesture) are not acceptable behaviors. Coming to work high or under the influence is also not acceptable. You’re on the wrong side in this situation.

    December 6, 2022 at 8:19 am #1117062

    I live in a state where weed is legal, but it’s not legal at my workplace because they don’t want people in finance with access to customer information to be on drugs. Same with schools, I would think. If you sign up to work for a place where weee isn’t legal, then don’t smoke weed in public.

    December 6, 2022 at 9:55 am #1117063

    Hunter, one of the really insidious things about weed, for some people, is that you become dependent on it in a way that makes you prioritize it over other things in your life, like your education, or a job that could bring you financial stability, or a relationship.

    This happened to my first husband. He kept flunking out of community college because he wanted to smoke weed, and then they wouldn’t give him financial aid anymore.

    He joined the military and was given an incredible, life-changing opportunity. After 4 or 5 years in the Air Force, still in his 20s, with just an associates degree, he had a job paying $70k, and this was over 20 years ago.

    After only a year or two, he quit. This would have been a career for life. But he wanted to smoke weed and hang out with his brother’s band.

    He has never worked a job other than pizza delivery or pizza kitchen (after getting pulled over and busted for weed) since then.

    Does that scare you? It should. It is literally possible to throw away the only opportunities you’re ever going to get, and then there aren’t any more of them, if you are dependent on weed.

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