After our three day Spring Break, I started my Monday back very poorly.
I began the day with a conflict with a student, one whom I like, and did not handle it well.
As I was approaching my class before the start of homeroom, I heard her call another student gay. I told her that it wasn't appropriate to use "gay" as an insult. She responded that they were just joking around.
What I should have said at that point was "I understand that and I'm glad you and he have the kind of friendship that allows for that type of conversation without hurt feeling, but others may be around, including myself, who are offended by your use of the word 'gay' as a judgmental insult. You just need to be mindful."
Instead, I escalated the situation and it got WAY out of hand. She was already cranked up to 100 and I should have been more aware of the situation. I allowed her responses back to me to get under my skin and escalate me further.
I sent her away and she returned with the principal. The three of us tried to have a discussion about it in the hallway, but she was still too wound up for it to be productive. She came off looking insane while I came off looking indifferent to her concerns. It was a bad situation for all.
During my in-school suspension duty, I pulled a chair up to her and apologized. I told her that her behavior was inappropriate and unacceptable, but so was mine. I should have been more aware of the mental state that she was in at the time and that she was not ready for a reasoned discussion. I told her how much I enjoyed her in my class and how I had thought that we had a pretty relationship up to this point. I told her that I'm sorry that I jeopardized that and I hoped she could forgive me and we could go back to what we had.
She was calm and relaxed and willing to listen. She agreed that we did have a good relationship and that we could start over. I thanked her for her patience with me.
Being an adult after the fact is usually not too tough.
Being an adult during is something with which I struggle daily.
I wish it were otherwise, but it colored my interactions with students for the rest of the day.