August 19, 2011

Mayberry Failed Me (rant ahead)

So, when I left Mayberry, I was under the assumption that the AD would take care of the track repairs. In fact, he told me this. Why wouldn't he have the track repaired? I mean, I raised the money (through MANY runners' help) and even found companies that could do the job. All he had to do was make the phone call and get it approved by the school board. Yet, the "fix it" date has come and gone many times. Hmmm. I guess since this is my personal blog, and I'm not forcing anyone to read it, I can share my near-honest opinion about this. This is TOTAL BS!!!!!

What adds fuel to the fire is the football team just got new goalposts. Yet they haven't won a single game in 21 consecutive games. In fact, in 3 seasons, they have won less than 5 games TOTAL! And still, they get new goal posts. I could understand if the money was the issue because obviously, goal posts cost WAY less than the track repair. Money is not the issue. The issue is the *bleepin'* Bubbas, and the whole Bubba System of that TOWN, not just high school. Which is why, my friends, I flew the coop. More rant ahead...

Last night I got a FB message from one of my former track girls. Remember the relay team of YOUNG girls that made it to State as 8th graders my first year coaching? Yeah, one of them. Well, I am not FB friends with any teens on FB, but I guess she searched me and found me, wanting to reach out to someone that would care about her. Sadly, she is pregnant and it gets worse. They kicked her out of the school. Apparently, she is out-of-district. She's lived in the same house since kindergarten, and the school system has always allowed kids out of district, assuming they were not a problem. She is a very sweet, smart, and athletic girl. Yes, she made a poor decision, but nonetheless, she is definitely an asset to the school, pregnant or not. But after 9 years with her classmates, making honor roll, and playing school sports, she was removed. I've spent so much time thinking about this child, as she and I were very close. My girls' team was so small; I really bonded with them, especially those that went to State my first year.

I'll move on to the 2nd phase of my disappointment. I am disappointed in myself. It's true, I have failed her, and the other athletes. I feel, as educators and coaches, we have a responsibility to these children. She was pregnant during track season, and I didn't know. Coach H and I talked for a long time last night, and we both have serious feelings of guilt about how we treated this young lady. We both pushed her, probably too far for a pregnant person. We both even went as far as to think she was being lazy because of her performance at practice and meets. We never SAID this to her, but I'm sure it was implied in our faces or actions or words somehow. I'm disappointed that I couldn't have been the role model that helped her say NO to perverted boys.

I am so disappointed in the school and its teachers. What have we (teachers) become? Are we so fixated on test scores and producing cookie-cutter citizens that we can't recognize a child that needs us? Are we so afraid of the lawsuits that we can't discuss things like abstinence or safe sex? The teen pregnancy rate at that school blows my mind. Many people think it's just "white trash" or "poor black" kids that have babies at a young age. No, mam! It's ALL of them- family background means nothing. Where are we going wrong? I believe the answer comes down to goal setting. We are not preparing these young adults for future. The smartest of kids see themselves in that same small town working at some dead-end job. They simply don't KNOW where their goals COULD take them, if they had any goals. I believe that Mayberry is teaching these children that being "okay" is fine. One of the biggest arguments I ever had with a teacher at my former school was when she said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." HUH? Shouldn't you always strive to be the VERY best you can be, even if it means taking risks along the way? Even if it means more work or harder work? So many times, I felt like yelling at these athletes, "Get the hell out of here! There is so much better out there!" Many people love a small town, and return to where they grew up. That's all fine and good, but shouldn't a young person at least have the option of making that choice?

The athletes NEED a good non-corrupt athletic program and school. They need positive role models. What kind of message are these kids receiving when it is common knowledge that married football coaches sleep around? What kind of message is it when the town tramp is one of their teachers. What kind of message are they getting when money is there for their track to be fixed, yet no one cares enough to fix it...

I know this post has been one long rant and ramble. I'm not sorry, though. It's something I've wanted to get off my chest for awhile now. I feel that it's my "reason" for abandoning that place. I just can't stand an "okay" life. I wanted more. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of my athletes. I am so incredibly sorry for them, and think about them pretty much every day. I just wish it could've had that fairytale ending. The ending where they get their track and new coach that will go the moon for them, a person that will make them have GOALS, and then help them stay on course with those.

I have failed my athletes, just like Mayberry failed me. :( I plan to continue to work hard at seeing their track project through. At this point, the school doesn't *have* to listen to me, and I have no authority over their funds. Kind of funny, but when I filled out fundraising approval forms, I specifically earmarked a large portion of the money for repairs. The AD and secretary tried to convince me otherwise, but I held my ground. I'm so glad I did! Either that money gets used to fix the track, or it sits there in the bank. Of course, they could always break the law and use it on whatever. And these days, that wouldn't surprise me, either.


  1. Oh girl, I am so sorry about all of that. What BS from the school about the track! Is there a point of contact at the school? We could inundate them with letters and inquiries until they comply. I can send angry-legal-sounding inquiries ;) And I absolutely would! I did not run 26.2 mi so those kids wouldn't have a track! (I would have run it anyways, but they don't know that.)

    But please remember that you did NOT fail those kids. You did everything you possibly could for them while you were there. The problem is bigger than can't fix it all. For that one girl, I am sure there are dozens who learned valuable life lessons about goal setting and perseverance from you. You are a wonderful model for those kids...and for your new kids as well!

  2. What I can say here is that I support you and the Eagles 100% and would help out again in an absolute heartbeat. If only the system could see that wanting more from life is not something to be discouraged, but an absolute human right!

  3. It's awful, frustrating and so disappointing about the track, this is without question. But how can you can have guilt or feel you failed for something you didn't know about? There's just so much you can take upon yourself, Rebecca, and until you are able to read minds, knowing when someone's pregnant if it's not obvious isn't one of them.

    Sorry to be kicking your ass but you've busted your own to give those kids everything you were able and while it's heartbreakingly sad, the dead-end future so many of them are guaranteed, you did your best and presented a real role model which is something they might never have had without you being in the picture. You didn't fail anyone.

  4. As a teacher myself I do understand where you are coming from but remember that you did NOT fail these kids!!!! It does take a village and one teacher alone cannot do it. I know the frustration. I know you gave more than 100 percent for these and that is something to be proud of. At least you did it, not many teachers do that. You cannot help every student so don't put so much pressure on yourself. You are a wonderful person and teacher! Now you have the opportunity to continue making a difference in a new school. Hugs to you.

  5. You did not fail these kids. It does sound like the school/town doesn't provide an atmosphere where it's easy for kids to set high standards for themselves, but you did everything you could while you were there. It's such a shame about the track. I hope they fix it soon.