Hazel Saves the Day

Hazel saves the day

In my first year as a teacher in Quinton Township, I learned many lessons, not the least of which was human nature. My 7th grade class that year averaged 35 kids and I needed to learn quickly how to discipline, teach, and handle 12-13 year olds. Add to this that I was only 22 and not that far removed from 7th grade myself!

One of my students, Missy, was a bit talkative and felt empowered to do what she wanted when she wanted. I had already had to deal with Willie B and the Brooks Brothers (see Willie B Turns Green story for details), but Missy was being quite a challenge.

One day, I asked her to stop talking to her neighbor and disturbing the class multiple times. I finally told her that I would have no choice but to keep her after school and schedule a meeting with her parents. I misjudged this family, not realizing that she was actually quite spoiled and that her parents considered her a perfect little girl.

I need to interject that she was a nice girl and not purposefully bad, but she was a 7th grader and my years of experience with that segment of the population has shown them to be testing the boundaries between childhood and adulthood. This can be stressful for kids at an age when their bodies are changing and their need for greater freedom and independence is also growing.

Back to the story, Missy continued defying me that day and I was finally forced to get the office to write up a detention form for the following day. This was not accepted very well by Missy and she flounced out that day as only an adolescent can.

I soon received a call that her parents wanted to come to talk about the detention. I thought, "Great, they are supportive and want to see what they can do to help". Boy was I surprised. They were adamant that Missy should not be punished since she had assured them that she had done nothing to warrant punishment and that I was purposefully picking on her and didn't like her.

My students knew I liked them and treated them fairly as much as possible and I prided myself on my attempts to show them that my interest was in the best possible education for them. 

I explained to Missy's folks that this was not true, she had been especially defiant that day and my aim was to help her make the learning environment the best possible. They were not having it! They told me that they believed her and that she never lied to them. And they wanted to know why I was picking on her. I replied that I couldn't for the live of me see why I would get any pleasure out of tormenting a 13 year old or lying about it.

At this point, one of the 8th grade teachers, Hazel, entered the room. She had been eavesdropping in the hall and knew how to handle the situation. When she entered, Missy's parents greeted her with "Hello, Aunt Hazel {Hazel was "aunt" to everyone in town}". Hazel then said, "I'm glad you came in to straighten this out, Missy has really been giving Mr. Nipe a hard time, thinking that because he is new, she can get away with it". 

Wow, you should have seen the parents' faces and the complete turnaround in their manner. Her dad told me they owned me an apology and would deal with Missy and that she would indeed be there the next afternoon for detention.

Missy turned out to be one of my better students that year and I thank Hazel for saving the day for both of us! 

Davdan @ 2008-2018