Education Realist, a high school math teacher, took off a student’s hat as a joke. Before she could return it, he stood and shouted at her, “Give me my damn HAT back.” In Picking Your Fights—Or Not, she tells the story.
“Sit down, BTS. Right now.” I was standing very, very still. He edged even closer.
“Give me the damn hat. You don’t take my hat.”
. . . “BTS,” I said very carefully, very clearly. “I promise you I was just kidding around. You hadn’t done anything wrong. I was going to hand it back to you. And you will have the beanie back the minute you sit down. But you do not tell me what to do.”
He said, again, “Give me the damn HAT BACK. NOW.”
She didn’t want to give back the hat till he sat down. She didn’t want to call a supervisor, which would risk a charge of “physically threatening a teacher.” Furthermore it was partly her own fault for messing with his hat.
Then she heard her other students telling BTS to calm down. One girl said, “I got to tell you, BTS, that’s a damn ugly hat to be going face to face for.”
They weren’t mocking him, laughing at him, making fun of him for letting me take his beanie. They were, god love each and every one of them, fully cognizant of the thin line we were on, and determined to walk BTS back.
Sabi, a usually quiet Afghani, said “BTS, you should sit down and get your hat back.” Kyle said “It’s spring break, man. You want to lose a second of it to the (detention) hallway?”
BTS sat down. She gave him the hat back.