One bad day


For those of you who may not know, I have a part-time gig coaching cheerleading and gymnastics at various elementary schools across the East Valley. It’s been a great experience for me as an aspiring elementary school teacher. The students vary from K5 to 6th grade. This is especially helpful since I don’t really know what grade I want to teach.

I learned a very tough lesson the other day, but I’m not even sure if I can break it down into a simple moral. The result didn’t cost me my contract with the whole company, but I no longer teach at that particular school. Here’s what happened:

My Version

I was 15 minutes late for a gymnastics class but called to let them know. I asked if someone could open the storage closet where the mats were, the kids knew what to do. I was told that she didn’t think it was a good idea having these little kids carry those big mats. I was skeptic and slightly frustrated but said okay. She said that someone would wait with the kids though no problem.

One thing you should know is that I despise being late, especially for work or some similar responsibility. I tend to only focus on catching up, which in this case was a very bad thing.

I arrived at the school and headed straight for the closet where the mats were stored. A few of the students followed to help like they always do. I was called by the teacher that had been waiting, and she stated again that the students really shouldn’t help with the mats. I’m pretty sure I responded quickly and continued to the closet. I brought the heavy mats out two at a time, up a short flight of stairs, and tossed them down to be unfolded. Students asked to get water or go to the bathroom so I made an announcement to go now while I got set up. From that point, class continued normally although I hurried through the review and beginning warm ups.

Her Version

I was contacted that night by my boss about what happened at the school that afternoon. I explained much like I did above. She let me know that I was later than I thought and that it was the principal of the school that waited with the kids. I thought that was the end of it, but I got a call the day before I was supposed to teach that class again with worse news.

Apparently, the principal did not hear my reply when she told me about the kids not helping with the mats. I thought that I had said something but maybe not. I wasn’t concerned with appearances, just with making up for lost time. The principal also thought that I threw the mats down angrily. After the first call (but before my boss had a sit down with someone from the school system), the rules were that the children were not to touch the mats at all. I was also reminded that any time after the bell rang was late. After the second phone call, I was no longer teaching that class.

My Mistakes

I agree that I did not handle the situation very well. Instead of addressing the teacher that was waiting by apologizing for being late or thanking her for waiting, I blew right past to the storage closet. I also didn’t think about appearances. I’m sure I appeared quite rude when I’m really not.

Lessons Learned

I’ve known that sometimes I really need to slow down. This incident just reinforced that goal. To me, I was just in a rush. To her, I was rude and angry.

I was also reminded that appearances and first impressions are still very important. I no longer can work at that school (which is truly heartbreaking for me) because I made a bad impression on one bad day.

I can only hope that the impression I made on the kids and some parents leaves a better account of how I really am.


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Sharon I am so sorry that happened but I am glad you learned some lessons. What you learned I have also learned through the years the hard way. Love you Mom.

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