First let me say that I am writing this email for my benefit. The “DeMarsh” situation has been keeping me up at night, and I simply need you to hear me out. I am not looking for this to go anywhere, I just want to communicate to you, my feelings. I’m sure you already know this stuff…but again, it is for my benefit and the purging of my soul with this family. You don’t even have to read this- I just feel better sending it.
I have had Richard for 2 years now. Despite the fact that he failed my class last year, Donnelly and I put him in American Studies because he had the potential to rise above his own personal drama and be a good student. Last year he struggled with substance abuse. I spent numerous hours talking to him and helping him work through the speed bump he had hit. We ended the year positively and I was hoping for good things this year. Richard thinks he is above discipline. He believes he is an adult and should be able to do what he wants. He thinks high school is a waste of time and any push back from teachers makes him an instant “victim.” On several occasions I have asked him what he would have done if he was the teacher and had a student like him who constantly disrupted class, slept, did little to no work, and talked back. His has no reply and at such a young age, I can only come to the conclusion that he needs to learn empathy and it was an unfair question for me to ask.
Eddie, I have only met this year. As you know, we have had our challenges. Eddie has a short temper and goes from calm and great one minute to anger and out of control the next minute. He thinks it’s ok to yell at teachers one day and then acts like everything is ok the next moment and accuses me of over-reacting. We squashed our issues in December and since then have been getting along great. He was a new person. He still had his mood swings, but was getting his work done and was respectful. He came to me with problems, and talked about life with me. He knew he was on his last leg with the dean’s office, and he kept himself under control. When he blew up at me the other day, it was out of nowhere. I told him to leave the classroom and calm down and he kept yelling. I feel like this whole situation is exacerbated because I happened to have an issue with the 2 of them in the same week. It’s unfortunate because I was enjoying Eddie- I invested in him and then he was taken out of my class.
As I have grown as a teacher, I have learned that there are certain things I cannot tolerate. Yelling at a teacher and disrupting class in a huge scene is one of them. Sleeping in class, after I have told him several times to wake up and do something is another one. I have ignored so many things from these brothers. I constantly let the little things slide…. I feel like I have done so much and have made so much progress only for it to be smashed in my face at the end of the school year. You expressed that the father is upset with me. But he hasn’t been around for the past 2 years while I have helped his kids in whatever they needed. He wasn’t here when Richard was sleeping on the streets last year because his grandparents kicked him out.
After talking it over with Donnelly she told me “you will learn…you can’t invest in these kids…it always comes back to bite you.” Wow. I don’t want to become like that. I am trying to grow thick skin so that I can invest in them and then not be so hurt when I get it thrown back at me. I understand that it is a fine line to walk and that it will eventually pay off with certain kids. I understand that life will catch up with these kids eventually and they will learn their lesson or not. But I want you to understand that I have tried so hard with these brothers. I have given everything to them and have become jaded by the situation.
I hate sending kids to the dean’s office because I feel like I could have done more. When I do, it is for something that I can’t tolerate and it is after having given them chance after chance after chance after chance. I am sorry that this situation has become a burden. I have only tried to be there for Richard and Eddie. I feel bad about the way things ended but would not have done anything different. Thanks for letting me vent, letting me purge, letting me move on.