Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you can't stand the heat

Earlier this week, I was sitting in the science staff room grading with my TA during my prep period when another teacher walked in. The first words out of her mouth were, “Really! I can’t believe you”. I looked at her, and asked why, but she didn’t say anything else, and I could tell by the look on her face that she was going to tell me later when the TA was not around. The tone of the teacher was that of surprise, and was not harsh, but I could tell that I might have done something that the teacher was disappointed in.

My brain racked itself for what it could have done-last week was spring break, I had gone out a couple times, maybe she heard about that? I hadn’t made any bad decisions…maybe talking to these two questionable girls for a bit out at a bar…what had I done to draw such a judgment?
This is not how I spent my spring break. 

At the end of the period, I had shooed my TA away, and the same teacher walked in, and again made the same exclamation. I inquired again-what’s up? What did I do? “You voted for McCain didn’t you!”

She must have seen my car. My car has a McCain sticker on it, and if they had come in the mail, I would also have a Romney sticker on it. As a teacher, it must have been impossible for her to believe that there was a conservative in her ranks.

I responded to her accusation with “Yes, I did. And I also voted for Romney. Would you like to discuss why?”

She was taken aback. Not only had a voted for one republican, but I had voted twice against President Obama. MIND BLOWN. A teacher in California is a conservative? HOW DARE THIS HAPPEN. When I asked if she wanted to know why, she just said she couldn’t believe me. The same refrain came back "I can't believe you." My response to this was, “It is really none of your business who I voted for, and most people don’t start a conversation with ‘I can’t believe you’, but if you want to know why I voted a particular way on any issue/politician, I am happy to share.”

Oops. Wrong thing to say. I was told that she would start her conversations any way she wanted to, and that she was disappointed in me for being a conservative, and she didn’t care why. This picture is how I felt about the whole interaction (caution, foul language).

Now my secret is out. A republican is in the flock. Now what? Since this incident happened, another teacher came up to me and said that she heard about a teacher owning a red jeep with a McCain sticker on it and it took her all of 15 seconds to figure out it was me.

I have always been open to talk about my politics, but I usually keep my mouth shut at work-politics rarely come up anyways; we are too busy talking about what is going on in our classroom, or with our families, what parent is making our lives interesting, etc.

Will there be greater implications from this interaction? We shall see. 

In case you were wondering what I believe on certain issues, they can be loosely classified as being fiscally conservative, and socially liberal. That doesn't tell you a whole lot, but if you want to know more, you can ask. Pick any issue, and I am happy to discuss my viewpoint on it with you, and I am happy to listen to your side. But please don’t start with “Really! I can’t believe you.” Let’s just have a conversation about whatever subject you choose.

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