My emotions drive me. I’ve always considered myself an emotional person, but I’m still shocked sometimes by how much they control my actions. Most of the time, I guess I’m in a “neutral” state, but when I’m happy I’m elated and when I’m angry all I can see is red. In recent years, my emotions have started to frighten me, as they seemed to have intensified, which I didn’t even know was possible. Overall, I like to consider myself a calm person who doesn’t anger easily, but when I do get angry…it’s a scary sight.
I joined high school on the newspaper staff my sophomore year. I loved it. Brainstorming story ideas, writing, and being Arts & Entertainment editor was such a rewarding experience for me. However, the newspaper teacher “Mr. Allen” lacked the ability to manage a class that was impossible to be as structured as his usual English classes. We only published an issue once a month, which left some free time for everyone due to a lack of structure. I never cared; I used my extra free time to do my homework so that I’d have more TV watching time.
My first year on the staff, I thought Mr. Allen was the coolest teacher ever. He cursed in front of us without reservation, let us go days without doing anything productive for the newspaper and just gave us complete freedom with our story ideas as long as we produced a paper each month.
My second year when I was a junior, I grew to loathe him. He seemed to have grown weary of us. One day he’d be starting a game in our classroom where people had to bet on which teams would win during March Madness, and the next he’d have an outburst where he cursed at all of us telling us how lazy and useless we were. Mr. Allen enjoyed humiliating people when they got on his bad side. I remember once during March Madness literally the entire class was crowded in front of this TV that we had in our classroom for an unknown reason watching the game. I hate watching sports unless it’s the World Cup. So I was in the corner of the room by one of the computers doing my homework for that day. Mr. Allen walked into the classroom and passed the entire class watching the basketball game. He walked straight over to me and as he loomed over me said, “So I guess you’re not planning on doing anything productive for the paper today are you?” I was speechless. Apparently, it’s wrong if I use my free time as a study period, but it’s perfectly acceptable to use the time to watch a basketball game, because he didn’t say anything to the rest of the students who were clearly not working on the newspaper as they were too mesmerized by the television. After this instance, I knew Mr. Allen disliked me as much as I disliked him. However, he had the power and opportunity to humiliate me whenever he pleased, me as a 16-year-old student in a public high school stood no chance in being supported if we ever had a real altercation. Unfortunately, this reality didn’t stop me from causing a fight anyway.
After two years of dealing with Mr. Allen’s inappropriate behavior, one day I snapped. It happened so suddenly I couldn’t have prevented it even if I wanted to. Mr. Allen was yelling at this girl in front of the whole class for not doing a certain task he’d asked her to complete. However, his snarky comments weren’t meant as constructive criticism, they were meant to demean her. As he started walking away from her he passed me and I mumbled, “You know, you don’t have to be so mean.” It just came out. I didn’t realize I was saying something until I’d already said it. He stopped. He turned toward me and just stared with such disbelief that he wasn’t sure if I’d actually said something so he asked, “What did you say?” I knew he heard me. I couldn’t take the comment back now, I just had to commit to it. So I repeated with a bit more confidence, “You don’t have to be so mean to her.” Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared. My entire body was shaking from anxiety and anger that had built up over time.
Aware of everyone’s attention to us, Mr. Allen decided to avoid the confrontation by saying threateningly, “You and I need to have a talk sometime about this, but I’m too tired right now.” Then I experienced word vomit. I instantly responded, “You go get your rest then.” Needless to say, Mr. Allen lost it after that comment. He kicked me out of the classroom and yelled as I was walking out, “Anyone want to be the new A&E Editor?” I was shocked at myself and at him. I had never in my life been kicked out of a classroom. I didn’t even know where I was supposed to go! Did kicking me out mean that I’m supposed to go to the Principal’s office or am I just supposed to literally stand outside of the classroom? The second I left the room and closed the door I started bawling.
I opted to go the cafeteria, because it was a lunch period and I had friends who would be there to calm me down. I walked in to the cafeteria with my tear-strained red face and puffy eyes in search for my friends, but was stopped by the police officer and a teacher who were supervising. They immediately demand to know what happened and since it’s still raw, I blubbered the whole instance upon command. I’m then escorted to the Assistant Principal’s office where I’m demanded to repeat the story. As I’m repeating what happened to the Assistant Principal, she looks up my file and with a look of surprise remarked, “You’re in all Honors and AP classes.” Once she had skimmed my file and I guess determined I wasn’t a criminal in the making, she gave me her full attention. However, at that moment I couldn’t stop thinking how the only reason she changed from harsh and unsympathetic to understanding and kind was the fact that I had good grades and was in advanced classes. To me, that was ridiculous. If I were in this same situation where I’m bawling and a mess in front of her, I’d have no credibility in her eyes as a normal student who gets average grades. She even laughed when I told her my final retort to Mr. Allen that got me kicked out!
After I vented about the entire experience, the Assistant Principal said she’d talk to Mr. Allen, and schedule a meeting for the three of us for him and I to clear the air. This sounded pointless and not enough to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, that’s the way it was “handled.” He gave an insincere apology, and then I followed suit. He gave me back my position as A&E editor, and we both had to continue to tolerate each other for the rest of the school year. It was miserable.