When my Teacher was Dead Wrong

Photo by Thristian (Creative Commons)

Photo by Thristian (Creative Commons)

Update: My mom read this story and added some more detail which I had forgotten. I have put it into the narrative now.

It was a Wednesday afternoon in my sixth grade class, about twenty minutes before school got out. I went up to Ms. Strauss and said, “I really don’t feel good. Can I go to the nurse?” She replied, “School is out in twenty minutes. You will be fine. Now go back to your seat.” But everything was not fine.

I walked my friend-who-was-a-girl-but-not-my-girlfriend home, and then turned to walk down the road to my apartment. Feeling sleepy, I laid down on a grassy hill before crossing the street. In what seemed like a moment later, I got up and started to walk.

I was still in my postictal state, so I turned the wrong way to go home. I stumbled along for 90 minutes, crying and wondering why I wasn’t home. I started to pass a cemetery and realized I was walking toward my Grandma’s house. Crying from exhaustion and confusion, I finally made it home 4 hours after school.

As I walked into the door, I saw my mom’s face in a panic. “Oh Thank GOD you are okay! Where have you been? What took you so long to get home? I was about to call the police. I thought you were kidnapped, or killed, or who knows what else. What happened?” We both broke down crying with relief and fear.

“I don’t know. I was walking home and then I passed the cemetery by Grandma’s house. I don’t know what happened or why I got there. I am so confused Mom.”

“Oh honey, you must have had a seizure. I am so glad you are home now.”

I realized for the first time that day…I was not like everyone else.

Needless to say, my mom called the school the next day after I got home. I think she wanted me to hear her defending my safety. The principal was on the line with her. Practically yelling, she told him, “My son has EPILEPSY! You and your teachers cannot treat him like any other kid whining about his stomach. He knew he was not alright, and his seizure proved it. I expect better from you and your school. Starting NOW.”

Epileptic or not, I was so proud to be my mom’s son that day. She showed me how to love and defend and protect and care for a child. I still think back on this snippet from my life with gratitude, and challenge myself to rise up and be a parent like my mom.

Do you have any moments where you watched someone else and realized you wanted to parent just like them? I would love to hear your story.

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11 thoughts on “When my Teacher was Dead Wrong

  1. Scott Berry

    This works both ways. Having been a teacher, I have had students who abuse the ‘I don’t feel well’ story. If the school/teacher/principal have been informed and it is on record in the nurse’s office, then by all means, the teacher needs to let the student go to the nurse. But there are also a lot of parents who fail to communicate with the schools and then blame the teachers for not knowing. Work together, okay?

    Reply
    1. sometimeshope Post author

      Scott,
      I completely agree with you. I hope my title doesn’t insinuate a disdain or frustration toward the teaching profession, or even this teacher. I cannot imagine the creativity, stress and lack of appreciation you all go through every day.

      You are so right about communication being the key. For the record, there was almost over-communication from my mom regarding my epilepsy. This might be why she was so angry. Plus, the fear of me being injured, of course.

      I am a parent of four, ranging from seventeen down to eight. Believe me, I understand the unending lists of excuses to not do something 🙂

      Reply
    1. sometimeshope Post author

      She was quite the Mama Bear. I understand all the more so, now that I have an epileptic daughter myself. There is a tenacity required to fight for your kids, no matter what, no matter who, just fight. I love that she passed this fighting spirit to me.

      Reply
  2. Ann Kilter

    This is one reason some parents of children with disabilities turn to homeschooling. I never did, but I did try to prepare those who would take care of my kids for what to expect and what our kids needed. We left a church over a youth group leader who lost our daughter at a hockey game. This was a last straw; they would not take us seriously. Your mother was right to expect better of that school. Take it from this mother bear.

    Reply
    1. sometimeshope Post author

      Ann,
      I love your heart. I am so glad we met through this adventure called writing. I couldn’t agree with you more either. My parents had done their part to explain my health situation. The teach just forgot.

      We have had to fight every year for my daughter to get the care she deserves. We have considered homeschooling, but it really needs to be a last option. We both work, and we both need to work.

      Reply
  3. Jan Morris

    Great story Chris. I remember a few more details of the story. After the seizure, in your confusion, you got turned around and walked in the wrong direction. You walked for about an hour in the wrong direction. Eventually, you recognized a cemetery you had seen on the way to your grandmother’s house. You were alert enough to realize you were going the wrong direction and turned around to go home. During this time, I called the school and then the police. I was so upset I could not even tell them what you were wearing. I totally broke down when they requested a picture of you. Finally, you just walked in the door. Your face was dirty with tear stains running down the dirt. Yes I did have words with the school and the teacher. They would never make that mistake again.

    Momma Bear

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Guest Post at The Blog Pile | sometimes HOPE

  5. Pingback: Guest Post at The Blog Pile | Chris Morris Writes

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