But today this tiny thing happened that made me so pissed my hands literally shook. I posted a link to this article on my Facebook page, shared via a fellow teacher friend. It's a commentary about public vs. private schooling and while the title is extreme, and it is dubbed a "manifesto" by the author, it makes some interesting reading. It's worth taking the few minutes of your time to actually read. Like the entire thing. Unlike the fellow who took it upon himself to send me this little gem:
"I'm an acquaintance of _____. I read the article all the way to the part that I should send my children to public school even though they and their grandchildren would suffer but eventually it would be for the good of all.
You are a freaking idiot. Seriously. Quit posting."
Um. WHAH? Yep. A family member commented on the link, which posted it to her feed. This lovely gentleman saw her comment and then saw fit to send me the above message. Now let's not be naive here. I am not ignorant to the fact that trolls exist throughout this bnig wide world of the Internet, nor do I pretend that my own posts are immune to criticism. However, I was floored. More than that. Reading that message instantly set my blood to boiling and it was all I could do not to write my thoughts out in a reply. "Who the FUCK do you think you ARE? Idiot? You sir, are an asshole to the nth degree."
Instead, I waited a beat, took a breath, and wrote this:
"Actually, I am an educated professional with a degree in education, who went to public school and has taught in both private and public schools in RI, NJ, and MI. I am very knowledgeable about the subject and am certainly entitled to my opinion. I am also entitled to post anything I like on my own personal Facebook page. I certainly wouldn't expect that acquaintances of my family members would then privately message me with hateful statements when they don't even know me. I find that to be incredibly rude and uncalled for. You also missed the entire point of the article, which is meant to inspire a discussion about long term change in public schools. It also clearly states that children and grandchildren of wealthy families won't actually suffer from public educations, as their families can afford to be involved and effect improvements. You are certainly entitled to your opinions on education a well, and to share them with your own family and friends on Facebook, but you don't need to send them to me along with your negative comments."
I could have said so, so much more.
Instead, I sent my reply and did what any other intelligent, pissed off, modern day person would do. I Googled him. He's the regional manager of a company worth $250 million. Good for him. And yet it's not surprising that the bully who messaged me also happens to fit into the exact target audience of the article. By the way, he probably doesn't think of himself as a bully. Especially since he sent me this:
"You're right and please accept my apology. I just get very angry and frustrated when I hear people like you try to dumb America and try to make us all "equal". That's not the fundamentals and principals this country was founded on and I refuse to accept this country being socialized by this idiot in Washington. Having said that I lashed out at you unnecessarily and for that I am truly sorry.
Did you see that? Mixed in between the "my apology" and the "I am truly sorry?" Go ahead, go read it again! "People like you try to dumb America." Yes. Because that's exactly right. Public teachers try to dumb America. I must be a socialist. Oh, and don't forget to toss in a little dig at the President. Because that's the kicker, right? Please.
I'm so torn between ignoring this last note, writing something scathing, or just writing "apology accepted, douchebag." None quite capture my current feeling. I'm not a bully though, so I could just passive aggressively flame him on Twitter, or I could let it go.
And there it is. Deep breath.