A couple weeks ago a parent came into my room and spoke to me in a very disrespectful and insulting tone of voice. She was angry and would not let me speak. I spend every school day helping her daughter, yet I was being spoken to as the enemy. It was very upsetting, of course, even though this woman is known to have done this many times to other teachers. The following week we met as a team with her. There were five professionals, all people who knew and had worked with her daughter. She continued her onslaught of disrespectful tone and language. It left all of us red-faced and flustered, and probably ruined the day for most of us.
There is a quote by the renown child psychologist, Haim Ginott that I always keep on my bulletin board at work. As you read it replace "child" and "teacher" with person, and "in the classroom" with anywhere I go, and think about the fact that we all have the power to lift up or destroy someone's day.
"I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable of joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized."