"What are you allergic to again, and what happens if you have something you are allergic to?" I heard the science teacher calling over to me as I was grabbing something out of my classroom, with all of my students sitting around her on the rug. "Don't worry about it. We can talk later," I said as I left the room again. I was blown away by the fact that she was discussing my allergies with my students.
It all began when I walked into my classroom and saw cookies and frosting all over my desk. In Italy there are no cookies that don't have nuts in them or are made with a mixed nut oil. I didn't get upset with the science teacher, but I did ask her quietly away from my students, if she could please make sure to wash off my desk before leaving. This same teacher I have blogged about before. She is the only one at my school who has given me a difficult time about my allergies. This time though, when she was involving my kids, it infuriated me.
The science teacher continued on the rug with my students to discuss my allergies as I left. At the end of the school day, I went back to my classroom to speak to her. I said, "I don't want to scare my students, so I have only briefly mentioned my allergies. Food is never in my classroom, so I don't ever even think about it. If you are going to involve my students with food in my classroom, please inform me ahead of time. Since this is my class and students, it is my decision how much I share with them. They are young, and although I want them to be aware I have allergies, it is the beginning of the year, and I don't want to scare them. This is a decision I have made for my students, and it is very irresponsible of you to discuss my health with my students. Please don't do that again. I am happy to reiterate my allergies to you and answer any questions you have, but my health is mine to deal with, and should not be discussed with my students." She starred at me, then said with some serious attitude in her voice, "Yeah, okay." That was that.
When I deal with people who are this self-focused and uncaring, it is challenging not to completely go off and lose my temper! I know that will not express the correct message that I want to convey though, so instead I bite my tongue, take some deep breaths, count to ten, and try to rationalize a point of view so incredibly different than my own.