Confessions of a Scared, Guilt-Ridden Teenager

25 Jan

I got yelled at today.

By two teachers. I know, I know; it’s not an end-everything moment. But for a student who’s tried to maintain the best standard in school with my grades and teachers, it hurt. A lot. Especially since it mostly wasn’t even my fault. But let me start from the beginning. (Please note that this is purely venting and a way for me to relieve my emotions. I’m a teenager; does that mean I’m qualified to mindless gossip posts once a year? I hope so!)

I’m in an after-school orchestra (which is a class, not an extra-curricular), as well as the music honor society at my school. The orchestra meets every Thursday for about 2 hours while the honor society has 3 meetings this year. Two of those 3 meetings fall on a Thursday. Since it’s all within the music department, there’s usually an agreement between teachers for us to leave the orchestra early and go to the honor society meetings late.

This Thursday was a day when the two would coincide; this was the first meeting for the music honor society. When class began, our teacher explained that she would like us to miss the meeting for the honor society, because we’re allowed to miss one meeting a year and we had a concert coming up very quickly. I had already been planning on leaving with my friend, but I immediately checked my agenda to see if I would miss the other two meetings, to see if I could stay. I noticed that the last meeting fell on a Tuesday in April…book club meetings were on Tuesdays. I panicked. I had no idea if that was a book club day or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances since I was on the board for book club. I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal.

When the halfway mark came for people to go to the meeting, people began standing up. My teacher started going through them one by one, asking for their reason for leaving, and telling them to sit down if it wasn’t good enough. I was still sitting; I looked to the friend I was going to leave with, and she gave me a determined look. We stood up and put our violins away, and right before leaving our teacher asked us what our reason for going was. There was a class of about 60 students watching.

I said I couldn’t go to the next meeting, and was about to say it was because of book club when my friend began talking. This is when it all went downhill.

My friend has been mad at my teacher for a while now; she doesn’t like the way the teacher acts or runs her class. So in front of the entire class, she said she was leaving because she didn’t know if she could make the other two meetings, and basically said it in a very rude and sassy way.

The teacher paused. She didn’t exactly start yelling, but gave her a lecture on priorities and said very passionately that she should have planned ahead of time and been responsible. When she finished, she turned away. I was stunned. I had no idea what to do. My teacher hadn’t asked me why I was leaving, and I hadn’t said one word of disrespect. But she had turned away already…so I left. My friend and I walked out and went to the meeting, and I spent the next half hour in a panicked, mortified daze.

The moment the meeting ended, I rushed to my teacher’s room and waited for her to come out. The moment she did, I explained that I hadn’t gotten a chance to say so earlier, but that I had a book club meeting during the third honor society meeting. She explained that I’ve always been responsible about these things and that she knows it wasn’t my fault. I went home that day relieved that she wasn’t mad at me, guilty because I wasn’t even sure if there was a meeting, and still embarrassed because of my friend.

Today in my regular orchestra class, my friend and I were asked to step outside the classroom. Waiting in their office were the band and choir directors. They explained that other students had come and told them about an altercation between us and our teacher before we left for their meeting. They gave us a very stern lecture and said how our behavior was inexcusable and that they would not allow two honor society members to tarnish the name of their honor society or use it as an excuse to get out of class. I stayed completely silent the entire time, nodding with wide eyes.  My friend started arguing back again, and they explained that we are not allowed to be disrespectful towards any teacher no matter what. They said our behavior was deplorable and that we were strongly encouraged to apologize to our teacher.

After about 2 minutes, they let us go back to class. My mind was reeling. Had none of the students told them that I hadn’t said a word during the entire altercation they saw? Had my teacher not let them know that I had already apologized to her and explained myself?

I didn’t tell them that it wasn’t my fault, because I didn’t want to basically blame everything on my friend, despite the fact that she was the disrespectful one. But since it was her fault, I expected her to step up and tell them herself that I had nothing to do with it. But she didn’t. When we were walking out of their office, she gave me a short apology, and acknowledged that I had nothing to do with it, but said nothing else. She actually started crying at that point, and even though I was still mad at her I tried comforting her before we went back into class.

As soon as class ended though, as I was walking out, she came and told me that she still thought it wasn’t just our fault. She also started saying more rude and rather spiteful things about our teacher and other students, and said she refuses to apologize. I just kind of said okay and let her walk away, and didn’t really think about it again until I got home. But as many other things started adding up to a bad day (this, bad grades, family problems) I ended up breaking. I eventually cried myself to sleep and knew that I wouldn’t stop stressing about this until I wrote about it.

My feelings about everything are still mixed. I’m still worried about my reputation with other students because of everyone seeing me involved in this. I’m still angry at my friend for not having my back through this, being blinded by what I consider to be pettiness and immaturity (although I haven’t said anything to her about my feelings. If she continues to complain to me or try to bring me into anything else, I will make clear that I do not want to be involved).

She disrespected a teacher. I don’t condone this kind of behavior. In my opinion, she needs to understand that there are some things she must obey whether she likes it or not, and that she needs to hold her attitude in line to figures of authority. Also, I think her anger is mostly unjustified. What my teacher was asking of us originally was not unreasonable. My friend was simply looking for an excuse to show defiance, and I got pulled in as a side-effect.

However I do still feel guilty because in a way, even though I was in no way rude to anyone, I did do one bad thing: I left without a legitimate reason. I didn’t know if there would be a book club meeting (there isn’t one that day, by the way) but I still told them there was because I was scared. I lied, and I feel terrible about it. From this whole situation, that is the one thing I will unconditionally apologize for. I’m sorry.

I don’t know where this situation will lead; if I’ll be getting into any more trouble, or if any other aspects of my life will be affected by this. I spent all of today jumping at every phone call, thinking it was the school calling my parents to tell them about all of this. Situations like this make me really look forward to just leaving everything behind, and heading off to college for a completely fresh start. The future is always a place for redemption, and the past is a way to learn from mistakes, and I’m grateful for both to help shape me into a person who’ll know better and do better next time.

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