• Abby R.

Standing Up...Even if You Are the Only One Standing

Updated: Aug 28, 2018

I would bet money that someone has disappointed you in the past...or recently. Chances are that sometimes you feel alone or without an exit buddy. As much as I love my support system, sometimes I am the only one in a situation, staring my obstacle in the face, wondering how I will deal. Sometimes I have to rely on me. Scary, huh?

About the time I decided to start teaching high school ( I know, crazy right?), I discovered that I really didn't want to go into the teacher's lounge because everyone there was super pissy all the time. I also discovered that apparently some people on campus didn't like me or thought I wasn't doing a good job. When I found that out my first instinct was to feel bad, wonder what I had done. But that quickly faded into, wait, I don't like them either...and I moved on. But it was the day that I was confronted in the hallway by my principal that I think started pushing me in a new direction.

I had been in the middle of a great lesson. My kids were engaged, we were discussing the novel we had just read and the symbolism in it and they were getting it, it was great! Just then there was a huge BANG in the corner and the room started filling with smoke. We were in the portable so the first thing I did was start to funnel my kids through the other teacher's classroom door to the outside. Turns out, our fire extinguisher had slipped from its flimsy grasp on the wood paneling and fallen, busting and sending nasty yellow powder everywhere. I didn't want it to get on me or the kids, so we ran inside and hung out in the library. I was glad no one was hurt, and hey I would have a story to tll later.


Later that day, my principal saw me coming in the hallway. I hal expected her to congratulate me on getting everyone out so quickly or ask me what help I needed to clean up my room (because y'all it was a hot mess). But the first thing she dd was yell, "And where were you that you didn't see your kids messing with the fire extingusher? WHat happened?!"

Now mind you, this is in a crowded hallway, with teachers and students all around us. I was so offended personally that she would think this happened because I wasn't paying attention that I didn't even think about the fact that she wsa my boss or that she was confrontingme when I said right away, "Actually, we were having great lesson, all the students were paying attention and unfortunately the brakcet came lose and the extingusher fell. It clearly wasn't on there properly."

Now if I had had a moment to even think about what I ws going to say to her I guarantee that it would have come out something like, "um...I was....I mean....I don't know..."

But, beacuse I knew it wasn't right, and I was more concerned about the safetly of my kids and not getting yelled at in the middle of the hallway, I stood upfor myself, and calmly said what I said.

The result? She said "Oh...ok," and walked away.

This told me two things. First of all, she wasn't used to people talking back. Second, I stood up for myself and the world didn't end.

Something awoke in me that day. I was not about to get blamed for something I didn't do. I was not about to be humiliated and belittled in front of my students and coworkers. And I was not going to bow down or cower just because someone in a position of authority challenged me.

I stood up for myself. The next year, I stood up for myself when I was looking for a new job in a different city and there were hoards of people just like me. I stood up for myself when a parent of one of my students was harassing me. I stood up for myself when I was treated disrespectfully by a superior. It has gotten just a tad easier every time, and now I stand up for myself when I know the obstacle in front of me is not supposed to kick me off my path.

How have you stood up for yourself? Is there a situation you are in right now that you can take charge of?

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