It would have bit you. Raised in the desert this was not an idle saying. Poisons snakes were serious consideration. Impending doom lurked everywhere. Sometimes I get tired of looking for the threats and ignore what is so close to me. Happened this week. I was thoroughly rattled by an encounter with a belligerent student. I am a teachers assistant but when the teacher is not there I do have the responsibility to remind students to stay on task. I gave the assignment and left the regular substitute with the students. I went to another class for about 10-15 minutes to help that substitute with the assigned tasks and answer questions. When I returned, I looked at the students blank papers and reminded them they needed the first draft done by the end of the hour and should have finished at least a paragraph. The students were writing personal essays. No research needed. A student wailed, “We can’t get it done in 2 minutes.” I replied that I was gone longer. From one room to the other on different floors takes me more than two minutes to walk. The next 15 minutes was one escalation accusation after another that finally ended up with calling security, removing the student from the classroom, being accused of touching her and writing a referral for discipline action. (I never touched the student…ever.) I did get frustrated but I didn’t loose my cool. I stayed steady but I didn’t back down. I was trying to recognize the behavior but was reacting instead of choosing my actions. I was not happy with the encounter. I rehashed the incident with my supervising teacher then shared with my sister….still trying to process why I was so rattled. Then last night I was looking through old drafts that didn’t make it to post yet. There sat a link to my sister’s blog discussing Verbal Abuse. http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2017/02/verbal-abuse.html There was that snake and it bit me. She used 12 of the 15 different types of abuse. She used the class as her audience to bully me into submission….only I didn’t submit. I called security. The verbal abuse was right there in my face and I didn’t recognize it for what it was until hours later. Raised in an abusive environment, abuse feels ‘normal’ I’m used to it. Like the clutter in my house, I stop seeing it. Then I reminded myself that in 6 years, I’ve only written 2 referrals. 99% of our students are amazing. But I still need to watch for the snake in the grass.