Induction Day 2 and I have experienced my first “challenge”.
Today, we boarded school buses for community visits. I, naturally, decided to pee just one more time because the 1.5 hour bus ride was pretty daunting and was one of the very last people to board the bus.
Stepping onto the hot, narrow, yellow school bus I was overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia for the awkward phases of junior high school and the hot, sticky smell of the pleather seats. There were very few seats and the first one I saw available, I politely asked if it was taken.
Reluctantly, the man I spoke to with the ruddy beard mumbled something inaudible and moved his embarrassingly dumb looking school issued lunch box, which we all carry, out of the way. First thing he says to me as I took my seat caught me slightly off guard.
“So. Do you like to party?”
“Um, well, ya I like to go out here and there, I guess” I stuttered, caught off guard by his blunt curiosity. Maybe ask my name first? Anything but just straight into that, but whatever. We then proceeded to dive into an interestingly odd conversation.
“I ask because I met a really cool local dude at this bar last night,” he began “and he is, well he is really well known and respected in the community. He owns businesses and everyone knows him type thing. Anyways, he really cool and really rich and he is getting a limo to take him to another sweet ass bar out in this cotton field for tonight and he invited me to come with, do you want to join us?”.
Dumbfounded, I honestly wondered if this dude was joking. Is this a prank? Am I being set up? Because there is NO way, after the endless 16 hour days and tireless conversations about the perceptions of ATF teachers that he just said that to me!
“No, I definitely do not want to join you in a limo,” I spat the words in annoyance. Take a step back… Think about how to phrase this, Sara! My inner dialogue was running, no! It was sprinting!
“Have you thought about how that might be perceived? A white male, new in town, new to the community, and obviously ATF, showing up to a local bar in a limo?” I pried. “Well, I’d be with ya know, this famous and respected local man,” he retorted. “So everyone will know I’m with him”.
“Well,” I dove in again. “Have you considered that you are brand new to this community and don’t really know anything about it quiet yet. How do you know this man’s reputation or who he is or claims to be in the community?” the words flowed out of my mouth with audible urgency, but with careful consideration to really attempt to make him think about the potential implications.
Again, he retorted. “Well this man owns a lot of businesses and is clearly well liked”. But I could not simply leave it alone. Mind you, this bus ride was 1.5 hours and I spent a good half of that time probing with questions to make him consider things that he clearly had not yet needed to consider. Things that I would not have considered or understood myself until I did a pre-induction induction.
- Have you thought about what it will be like to be a teacher, let alone a ATF teacher in a small town where people see you and talk about what you do on the weekends and after school?
- Have you thought about the bar you are going to? Who owns it? Are they well liked? Is it a culturally white-only environment?
- How would your students and their parents feel if they knew about who and where you hang out?
- Have you though about anything?!
Every question was countered with a blatantly naive rationalization. This man, and I say man because he graduated EIGHT years ago, is not yet on a level to consider these aspects of our new lives critically.
I haven’t fully yet either. I am not perfect. But these questions should stir something within you and make you consider the world and the context of yourself within the world and this was just not happening today. Eventually, I immersed myself into the latest Buzzfeed listographies and ignored him completely. I was done. I wrote him off.
And that’s not any better!
But, I can say that everyone operates on their own calibers and levels and reach different “ah-ha” moments at different times. I just came to this particular moment before this dude did.
But I’m still #annoyed.
More posts to come, XOXO,