A Little Discretion, Please
It was a federal holiday, and it had begun to snow hard. I was waiting to get my hair cut and reading about how I could lose 10 pounds in five days when a couple of teachers, also waiting for their appointments, began to chat about how unfair it was that it snowed on a day that was ALREADY A SCHOOL HOLIDAY.
“School would have been closed today, “ one of them observed. “We would have had two days off instead of just one.”
“Or more,” the other one said.
Their attitude didn’t exactly endear them to the stylists in the salon who were cutting hair on Presidents' Day (as they did on MLK Day and on most days during the last two weeks of December). They worked snow or no snow because if they didn’t work they didn’t get paid, and no one was picking up their health insurance and retirement benefits. Never offend someone with scissors in her hand, I thought as I watched two stylists exchange glances in the mirror. I pretended to read.
From their conversation I did not think either one of these women taught like her hair was on fire, although if they continued to talk I thought I might get to see what it would look like. Their hair on fire, that is.
Good school-community relations aren’t just about open houses and family fun nights; attitudes towards teachers and administrators can also be formed in the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, and yes, in the hair salon. With school people currently under fire, we need to remind ourselves that others observe and judge our speech and behavior -- fair or not. And I don’t for a minute think these two oblivious women represent all the thoughtful, hardworking teachers in my community. I just wouldn't want anyone else to think they do.