I was sick for a couple of days, and obviously I don't remember if it was physical, but I can assure you I needed the mental break. What I DO remember, is coming back to school on Monday. I had a plethora of other things going on in my life at that time, and I was having NO LUCK finding any openings within driving distance. Being Monday, I came in sad and defeated as usual.
On top of that, my students were up to something. They were whispering, looking at me, and snickering. I realize I'm the adult, but I am still affected when I feel like people are talking about me. I ignored it most of the day, but by the end of the day it had escalated.
"What's going on?" I finally asked Monty, one of my students who would ALWAYS tell me, even when it made the others angry. He looked at a girl across the room and said, "Should we tell her?"
"It's up to you," she said.
"You're telling me. What." I demanded.
He pulled a piece of paper out of his notebook and handed it to me.
"What's this?" I asked, noticing student names all around the margins. He just smiled. I read it to myself:
Dear Hell R-IX Board Members,
This letter is referring to the recent resignation of Mrs. Lastname. We believe that she was pressured to resign and we want to make it known that we are very upset that she may not be teaching at our school next year.
We have been told by students that The Beast said to them, "Mrs. Lastname is a worthless teacher," and that they should not choose her for their English teacher. A large number of the student body find Mrs. Lastname to be the best English teacher they have ever had. Mrs. Lastname treats everyone in her classroom fairly. She upholds the classroom rules, and even some of us that are signing this letter have been given disciplinary action which we deserved. We have never heard a complaint, and ahve no complaints about how Mrs. Lastname handles her classroom. the students who wish to learn and put time forth have been taught exceptionally. The students that do not care, she has tried her hardest to get interested, but they've refused her help. Her class is sometimes the only thing we look forward to in a day.
We have also heard from many other freshman students who are not in her class that they would prefer to have Mrs. Lastname instead of Ms. Idiocy. All of the students have enjoyed having her as a teacher and will miss her dearly should she resign. This would be a devastating loss for Hell High School. If she is to resign, we request that this letter be put in her personal record, to give her help in acquiring a future job.
The following signatures on the bottom of this paper represent all of the studnts who agree and testify to this letter. We hope that something positive will come from this for Mrs. Lastname. Thank you for taking the time to consider this letter.
Concerned Students of HHS
Seventy students signed the petition. It never got to the junior class, so that meant that pretty much all my students, and some who were not my students, had signed the petition. Tears formed in my eyes.
"I can't believe you guys did this," I said.
"We're taking it to the board meeting," he told me. "I know you said resigning was your decision, but after some of the things we've heard It has said, we think It pressured you to resign." I was floored. Here I was, giving up, and these kids were banding together behind me, motivating me, pushing me forward, putting their own necks on the line (It WOULD punish them in Its own way were It given the opportunity), and were trying to save my job.
I talked excessively with the assistant superintendent. She told me that she'd like for me to ask for my resignation back. With the student presentation and the documentation I'd already submitted, she thought there was a strong chance they'd ignore Its recommendation not to rehire me.
I wanted the last say, and I'd already gained so much relief from letting the situation go.
"There are sixty two people on the list to attend the closed-session," she told me.
"I support what the kids are doing," I told her, "but I would be punished for that if I did get to stay," I confided.
"Well, the board can also choose not to accept your letter, so maybe we will just see what happens," she told me with a wink. "I think if you can just stick it out ONE more year, things might change," she said. She wouldn't elaborate, but she had me believing The Beast would soon be out of power [it turned out she was right, but it was two years before The Beast dug Its own grave, and even then It never left the district].
I decided to let my letter stand, but I decided I would support the kids in their endeavor and attend the board meeting. Before I knew it, the whole school was talking about it. The students who wrote it were telling their story, and there were tons of people who had signed up to attend the special session, and others who planned to come to the general meeting. It was spreading like wildfire, and even into the community.
Parents of the concerned students had got on board. Before I knew it I had the support of my church members and the FCA group as well as the adult FCA. They were all behind me, none of them TRULY aware of what I had suffered, but all of them knowing in some way, The Beast was wrong and needed to be stopped. The upcoming board meeting was going to be the starting point for everyone. Some truly only cared about me, some had suffered by It before and wanted justice, some knew It needed to be stopped completely, but all were lined up and ready for battle AGAINST The Beast. For the first time all year I wasn't alone.
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