Teaching tip: Trust your gut.
Now, I see this incident as a turning point in the chronological narrative. While I remained generous in my approach to novel situations, from here forward, Bryan’s interests surpassed any need to tiptoe around Mrs. Long. I was still bound by the obligations of professionalism and common courtesy, but I was also accountable to my own conscience - which was sending up warning signals like a ship in distress!
When it came to helping my students, I learned to overcome the passivity of a novice teacher and to suppress self-critical questions such as “Maybe I am just not communicating clearly,” or “Maybe I’m overreacting.” I began to speak about Bryan and Nicola’s situation in the terms of rights, injustice, and neglect.