I don't know what triggered this memory.
One day, many,many years ago, I traveled back to Brooklyn to visit my former colleagues. Afterwards, I took the subway downtown to do some shopping. As I waited to cross the street, a van pulled up. The woman rolled down the window, glared at me, and shouted, "There's that b#%&* who gave my daughter a hard time!"( A vision of flailing fists flashed before my eyes) I didn't recognize the woman. I couldn't begin to tell you who her daughter was, but obviously this is how I was remembered.
I have never experienced that again. I hope I never do. I have had parents who were upset with me for one reason or another. It usually stemmed from the fact that I refused to treat their child the way they wanted me to. I treated them with respect, loved them, and did my best to educate them. I did however draw the line at doting on their every word, and allowing them to do or say, whatever they wanted. My philosophy created some conflict between myself and some parents. However, more times than not, we were always able to work things out.
I don't know if I gave that woman's daughter a hard time, it really doesn't matter. That was her perception of me. I can't recall, but I am sure it bothered me at the time.
I have kept in touch with many of my students. They have my email address and drop me a line every now and then, sharing good news, or letting me know what I meant to them. The last two years I have used Edmodo as a way to keep in touch. Former students come to the school to visit, one is student teaching! My community is small, and so far, when I run into present and/or former students and parents, I don't get cursed out or ignored. :)
I don't spend my waking moments wondering if people are happy with me. However, working in this profession, I couldn't imagine being thought of as "that b@#$& who gave someone's child a hard time" every year. I do my best to be thought of as someone who encourages, motivates, and yes, loves (My kids are MY kids forever), my students.
Not because I stress about what people think of me, but because that's the teacher I have chosen to be. I have chosen to be the teacher that gets along with administration and staff. (Okay, most of the time).I have chosen to be the teacher parents want for their kids. I have chosen to be the teacher students think fondly of. I am proud to be part of this noble profession, and I conduct myself in a way that honors, not denigrates, it. And hopefully, with these choices, none needs mouthwash after spending a year with me!:)
photo credit: arimoore via photopin cc