One bad apple…




“You’re doing a really wonderful job.”


“I am so, so glad you’re the one they put in to sub.”


“My daughter LOVES having you in the classroom.”


“Please let me know how I can help you– you’re doing great.”


“You’re a doll!”


“They love you. You captivate them.”


And then…


“They NEVER act like this normally. They’re just so disrespectful to you. Isn’t there someone who can help you manage them?”



I go home, dejected.


I had thought it was a good day. We practiced counting coins. They were engaged in our measuring lesson. They sat on the edge of their seats as I began Gooseberry Park as our read-aloud. We practiced planning, list-making, and division of labor as they plotted out their leprechaun traps.


Did I need help managing them? Were they so out of control and I didn’t even see it? Was I possibly sabotaging this big chunk of their second grade year by not having a handle on things?


I fixated on that one remark for hours. I felt incompetent. Like a failure.


Never mind the dozens of complimentary, encouraging comments I’d received from teachers, parents, and administration. Never mind the utter confidence the regular teacher has in me. All that flew by the wayside as I fretted over one woman’s offhand words.


And why is that? Why is it so easy for us to overlook all the positive and focus on the one dark spot?


Is it really true that one bad apple spoils the bunch?


I feel like my emotions are one of those old strings of Christmas lights– they can be all gleamy and bright but then, when one goes dark, the whole lot fades.


I need to work on that. Chances are, you could work on it, too.


Let’s strive to simply glance at the bad bulb, see if we did anything to cause its lack of light. If so, we can tweak our actions. Otherwise? Remove it and move on.


Gleam on, friends.

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