I hope nothing like this has ever happened to anyone else, but it’s a story I feel I should share.
In high school my favourite class was band. Yeah, I know, that’s super nerdy. I don’t care, I loved it. I played sax, and even taught myself to play bassoon. I joined the military as a musician, and my band teacher was one of my references. He told them great things about me. I was enrolled the day before I started grade 12.
Now, I also decided somewhere along the way (with my brother’s pushing), that I wanted to make the military a career. This was a huge decision, because I would want to become an officer, and not be just a musician. I would be doing a real military job. I would have to live wherever they told me to go. I could be deployed if we went to war, and would have no say in the matter.
Anyways, I needed more great references to get in, so again I went to my band teacher. He said he would be happy to be a reference for me. I was one of his favourite students.
Well as my relationship with Sarah happened, (you can read all about me and Sarah here if you’re curious) things started to change. We would skip class a lot, and the two of us, along with two of our close friends, would joke around in class. Our teacher started to get mad at us, and even held us back after class to state that he doesn’t approve of our behaviour.
Well that’s fine, because we were just kids, having fun. It didn’t matter.
But then Sarah started to… take things. Yes, I mean stealing. But they were small things, like drum sticks and triangle beaters. We told her to give them back, but she refused. I didn’t find it particularly funny, but she thought it was a riot.
Well one day, I convinced Sarah to return them. We went outside the band room door, and dropped them there and ran away. Our teacher must have heard us because he asked a student who had left them. And she said “Sarah”.
The problem here is that the teacher knew who it was, and could probably have guessed it anyway. But instead he called me into his office, and started to question me. He explained that he was having some issues with being a positive reference for my military application, given his new “distrust” of me and my actions. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. He would ruin my entire career over a stupid prank that he knew the answer to if I didn’t tell him who had done it. I was furious and crushed at the same time. I felt betrayed by a man I had looked up to for years. So when he asked me, point blank, if it was Sarah, I just nodded and looked at my feet.
After leaving his office that day, I felt horrible. How could he do that to me? It was certainly wrong. And he knew the answer he would get. Was he just getting back at me for not being his prized student anymore?
And worst of all, I had failed to keep my word to Sarah. It didn’t matter that she had done something wrong. I was her friend, and girlfriend at the time, and I didn’t protect her.
When I told my best friend about what our teacher had done, she was outraged. But worst of all, we knew that we couldn’t tell anyone because teachers would probably not believe me. And I wanted to forget that it had even happened.
And to this day, no one besides my best friend knows about it. But my respect for my teacher is completely gone. When he handed me a trophy at our final band concert in front of hundreds of people for being the best student in our class, I smiled on the outside, but on the inside I knew it was an empty gesture that meant nothing.