worst day teaching

What I Learned from The Worst Day of my Teaching Career

My ears were still ringing. The tears were still fresh. The day itself was ok, but at 3:04, I got a phone call that I try to forget. I can't tell you any more than it was horrible. The worst accusations. No inquiries to what happened. Pure, unadulterated hate. It was the single worst day of teaching for me. And it had nothing to do with teaching.

So, when I went home, I had an episode of Every Classroom Matters to record with my friend Alicia Roberts from Arizona. We were supposed to talk technology. I say supposed because the moment I got her and my senior producer Jeannette on the line, I burst into tears. It was too much. I trust these two women deeply, and all the pain came out through the phone line. I sobbed.

So, we sat there wondering what to do with me. We decided that the calamitous school year Alicia had and my devastating day could not be wasted. We decided to speak to all you who struggle. We could always leave the result on the cutting room floor. Or it might help someone one day when enough time had passed to let the show air.

So, if you are falsely accused, yelled at, hurt, or misunderstood — dear friends, this show is for you. I can't fix these problems, but my friend Alicia and I can share how we dealt with them, each in our way. No tear is wasted when you use the heartache to serve and encourage others. Here's to you, teachers. Few people understand the hurt and betrayal teachers feel when these things happen. I know the pain. Alicia does too. You are not alone. You are noble. You matter.

Important Takeaways

  • Betrayal happens to us all.
  • What to do when you have difficult conversations.
  • How a polar bear led to Alicia deciding to move to another school.
  • Sometimes you go, sometimes you stay. It depends on your situation.
  • We all need people who love us and encourage us when we're down. Alicia encourages me and it is overwhelming.

We all need people who love us and encourage us when we're down. I hope that all of you listening out there will appreciate and understand that it takes courage to share this show.

I also think that administrators should listen to know how it feels when teachers are in this situation.

[callout]Will you go encourage someone who is having a hard time today? Please?[/callout]


Educator Resources

Interview Links


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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sue October 6, 2015 - 11:25 am

A verbal assault should be treated as any assault would be. The aggressive parent should be advised that you do not wish to engage in a conversation with them at this moment because when tempers are flared, nothing gets resolved. When the conversation does take place, if at all possible, it should be recorded so that you can reference it if necessary. Take notes as you listen. If the conversation takes place in person, leave doors open and have witnesses available nearby. Be prepared with notes to defend and explain yourself. Stop and clarify any points of contention. Why should teachers not be treated as any other professional would? No teacher need accept threats or verbal abuse from parents or administration. Problems (or perceived problems) never get solved that way.

Vicki Davis October 6, 2015 - 5:22 pm

Lots of great advice here. I do agree. Of course sometimes these things happen when you are caught unaware and those are the hardest.


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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere