Thank you, thank you, thank you R.G!
You pushed my buttons just enough that I had no other choice but to lash out, to strike back.
Disrespect will only be tolerated so long. Sun-Tzu warns every general not to push an enemy into a corner, for then they will fight to the death.
R.G. pushed me into a corner, in a way, mocking me with open glee that he had gotten me fired.
That was the last straw, and I let him have it.
"You will not talk to me like that!" I shouted at the kid.
Honestly, though, I cannot remember what I had said, but I do remember that he could not look me in the eye from that point on. He trembled like a leaf for about two minutes as I just shoved the same shame on him that he had shoved on me for so long.
The idea that students have no shame about defaming a teacher was lost on me for a long time. Yet the more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that the students themselves were so stuffed with reproach, what else could they offer, what else could they give to anyone with authority but the same shame that burbled within them.
R.G. had nothing but reproach then, and that day was the day when I refused to absorb other people's scorn, and I was glad.