I'm not inspired to write a clever or funny blog post. I've kind of just ignored it the past few days.
I've had a long week.
I know I can't complain compared to real trials in other people's lives.
The biggest stress was at work. Last Friday, I had a disagreement with a student. He raised his voice, I told him he could not be rude to me, and he filed a complaint with Human Resources claiming that I was culturally intolerant.
So, even though I knew I hadn't done anything wrong, I got called in to HR to explain myself. That's intimdating and nerve wracking.
Now, I know some of you are imagining what this student must have looked like. He's a tiny white guy whose culture is some sort of new age philosophy that is antiauthoritarian, which is why he refused to apologize for being rude. Last year, he told me it was against his religion to use personal pronouns -- you know: I, me, my, we. Whatever, we just roll with it.
After he was rude, I asked him to apologize; he said it was against his culture, and we continued to work together for half an hour -- even though I wasn't happy about it.
But the complaint he sent to HR talked about his German Jewish heritage. What? I was anti-Jewish or anti German when I told him not to be rude?
He talked about his perception that I didn't agree with his Pantheism. I didn't know he was a pantheist, but some of my friends are Wiccan and I definitely don't have a problem working with students of any religion.
In the end, the raised voices were only about treating people rudely. And asking someone not to treat me rudely doesn't connect with a specific culture.
The HR person agreed with me, but nearly a week has gone by with me wondering if it's possible for a student to make up things about me and endanger my job.
I think the answer is yes.
If other people hadn't been around, he could have claimed that I said anything, and I would only have my word and reputation as my defense.
I returned to some parenting advice that I gave my kids when they were younger, early teens, and had done or said something they regretted. I'd tell them that their friends don't judge them on one event. Friends take it into context of all the other things we've said and done.
And hopefully, my entire teaching career would be considered when wondering whether I'd been intolerant of someone else's culture.
Hopefully, this incident is behind me, but I've seen the lies that students can weave and know I'm not safe from them.
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