Learning A Lesson

In my middle school years, I had the same teacher for history class, or as they called it then, social studies. My teacher and I had a lot in common, we are the same race, had some of the same interest in music, and the main thing we shared was step, but we did not always see eye to eye. She once told me, she was so hard on me because she knew that I would go places and not lower myself to what the system says. High expectations I guess. Even at such a young age, I always knew that there were going to be situations when I don’t reach people’s expectations. In a moment of my life, a moment of failure, and a moment of disappointment to myself and to someone I thought I could look up to, I am going to share with you this story of how expectations and distractions can lead to judgement and failure.

The day every student in school would get their report cards. We would receive a grade for every class we had and our responses would be unpredictable.  As I walked quietly into my social study teacher’s classroom, she stops the lesson and in an authoritative voice says to me, “Teyonna why are you late to my class?”

Great, all eyes on me, I thought to myself.

“I stopped by the dean’s office on the way up. I have a note.” I handed her the note and took my seat. She continued the lesson. About 10 minutes later, I raised my hand.

“Can I use the bathroom,” I said.

“You have 2 minutes,” She said to me.

Her classroom was always just across the hall from the girls bathroom, so if she was to look out of the doorway, she could see and hear everything that was going on. I did my business in the bathroom and walked out. Then I got distracted. The dean’s office was one of the most popular places to be on the 4th floor near the first stairwell, also in looking distance of my social studies teacher’s classroom. I made my way towards the dean and the people sitting near her desk and suddenly I heard a distant shout. It was my teacher. “Teyonna get in this classroom” she said. I turned right back around and went into the doorway, but she pulled me aside. This won’t be good, I thought.

“If you continue to worry about what’s going on in the halls instead of my classroom, then you won’t like what you’re grade will be or what I have to say at the report card conference ”, she said to me in a calm, but stern tone. I just walked away.

Report-card conference time came and my aunt and I went through each floor where we talked to different teachers and discussed my behavior and grades in their classroom. Everything went  well until we got to my social studies teacher. She was the last teacher we were seeing that day, with the worst grade on the report card. We walked and she was sitting there with the biggest fakest smile I had ever seen. She greeted us, then we greeted her. My aunt looked at my report card and straightforward she said, “why do you have a D-minus?”, looking at me. Then at my teacher, “why does she have a D-minus?” My teacher went through the whole nine yards of why she failed me. One of the main reasons was because I was letting people influence me with the wrong decisions and my interests was always somewhere else when it came to her class. I admit to being distracted, but I also believe in second chances and not failure as a lesson. In order for me to have gotten that grade back up, I was assigned 3 packets of work.

There was always something about my teacher that bothered us, I say “us” because it wasn’t just me who she bothered. There were other students and other parents, including mine. My  teacher is a young black woman who was great until she tried to teach me a lesson. I promise, my intentions were not to disrespect or put down her or any other teacher that may find themselves with the same bothering personality, I am just simply sharing a small piece of my life. The reason I am sharing this story is because, there would be times when a distraction comes and there will be times when you may miss a few lessons that was supposed to be learned, but there should never be a time where an intentional failure comes because someone else believed that you needed to learn a life lesson.

Comments (2)

Niya Petty (Student 2020)
Niya Petty

Teyonna, in your essay I learned that you felt as teaching someone a lesson shouldn't be failure which I do agree with. You going through the tough time you had and then admitting that you were distracted with you work and education. I was interested in your story from beginning to end from where you describe this teacher and how you used to have a good relationship with her to the point where she was bothering you because of what she had done. Also when you put you distracted moment in your story like the part when you were in the hallway and how that lead to the point you were at.