Thursday, February 24, 2011

I guess I am teaching something

During the snow storm, I discovered that I had trolls. Sounds like some sort of disease, I know. I was talking with my big sister about her blogs (actually she has two blogs, but only one was under attack so to speak.) She had trolls. Someone had come to her site and started going back through the posts writing basically mean stuff. My sister is a researcher at heart. So, she began trying to figure out from where the trolls came. Lo and behold, they came from the last blog post on my old blog that said "Gone."

Four women (I swear they might have made up names) posted. ALL posted mean stuff about me. In fact, one had started her own blog and the only post was a picture of me saying how I tried to steal her husband away...Yeah, cause in addition to every OTHER reason that would never happen, some time during the crapfest 2010 of Sabrina's life, I was out looking for a MAN. sigh.

At any rate, I deleted my one post. My sister then did a post on "Trolls." It was awesome. Part of the awesomeness was due to the fact that the troll is really an idiot. Sis's blog is clearly about developing self awareness and thinking about how she has messed up parenting in the past, and she's learning from it. Perhaps she uses too many big words cause it is obvious the troll, she didn't understand a bit.

Under comments, my sister had given me a shout out because some newspaper had done a poll, and I was runner-up for best teacher in the district. Sure it is a really small district, and sure, I was runner-up to a 1st year 4th grade teacher at one of 5 elementary schools in the district, and yes, it is very likely only 5 people voted. But it was sweet of my sister. The troll wrote a mean comment to the effect, I shouldn't be allowed to teach. That is A LOT of venom to have inside.

A week ago, one of the women sent me a facebook message "Hi." That's it. Nothing else. I ignored it, but it seems like a lot of energy to put into someone when I don't recognize ANY of their names or anything. Who are they???? I was starting to feel a little down. But THEN, one of my editors-in-chief let me see her college essay. It made me cry. She let me attach it. (Mostly because she knows only 5 people read the blog. Hooray for censorship and fear of the machine.) Any way - here you go.

An Unforgettable Character

Perkins: Like you’re mom but worse. She stands 5’4” in her pink sparkly designer Christian Louboutin stiletto heels—a gift from our journalism class last year as a token of our appreciation. Everything about her is asymmetrical; it is no surprise when she stands with her left hand extended, her right hip cocked, with a semi-fisted hand saying, “This is Perkins,” circling that fist with her right hand through at least three revolutions, she continues, “and this is the world…!” All the things my mom tried to teach me are acted out on the journalism stage every day of high school. The starring role is played by Ms. Elizabeth Perkins, my journalism advisor.

Lesson #1: Dress to impress. “Don’t dress like you are going to work on a street corner.” When dealing with inappropriate dress choices, most teachers avoid confrontation by passing the student on to the administration. Not Perkins. She deals directly with each of us, and we are quick to learn what is and is not appropriate attire for school. Because of Perkins, I am increasingly aware of the small range of appropriate clothing in dress—especially when I am relating to teachers or students as yearbook editor-in-chief. She takes her position seriously and demonstrates her self-respect with a flair for fashion by playing the “Diva” role with confidence and aplomb.

Lesson #2: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Perkins never sets herself up as a perfect example—quite the opposite. She always admits when she is at fault and actually wants us to do a better job in respecting authority. Last week, during the school mandatory lockdown drill, Perkins opted to send students out to take pictures of the event. Once again yearbook “is more important than pseudo student safety.” Unfortunately our school resource officer did not agree. He captured Perkins and Company and officiated at our in-class criminal lockdown lasting three days. By letting us in on her escapades, we become comrades in crime with a worthy cause of surviving the school day and publishing our annual yearbook, The Highlander.

Lesson #3: Be good humans. “If there is one thing I want to teach you in this class, it’s how to be good humans.” Last month we had an incident with stolen money from the yearbook fund. Perkins appealed to our sense of humanity and justice by asking for our help. Because she believed and trusted in us, we were successful to use our student web of contacts to find the thief. As she teaches us to be good humans, she models it by standing up for the staff. Recently, an anonymous group of girls created a Twitter account to slander several of us on the staff. Not only was she determined to find these “mean girls”, she was “out for blood.” Her lasting advice about our emerging humanity always mentions the necessity to, “bring each other up with your words, not tear each other down.”

Whether Perkins is delivering a light message on fashion, or a serious message on what it means to be human, the thing that I’m going to remember forever is the delivery itself. She preaches her message with the humorous characterization of a Diva mixed with the high drama of a philosopher. Her obvious lessons are represented by the quotations above, but it is the subliminal undercurrents that I will take with me to college. I want to define my own character by taking risks for the people I lead; laugh not only at others but myself; and most importantly, create a character for my life story who makes people want to be better. Underneath all the bravado, Perkins lets herself be vulnerable so that her students rise up and help her. Her leadership style allows us to feel valuable and needed as we develop mutual empathy. Whether it’s dealing with my college roommate, my professors, or future boyfriends, I know on some level, I will be modeling Perkins, or as she is otherwise known, “The Dallas Diva.”

1 comment:

  1. That. Is. Awesome.

    (oh, and...thanks for the nod.)

    Too bad I can't point the trolls back over here to check out the accolades. Unfortunate for the trolls that they will remain trolls until they decide they're ready to stop being trolls. And then the real work begins.

    Hugs, sister!