So the other day (probably yesterday), I tweeted something to the effect of "I wish teaching were as easy as non-teachers think it is." Because it was a tweet, it had to be succinct, and I was in no mood to explain the tweet any further, since it was at the end of a particularly bad teaching and learning session. Plus, it would have taken definitely taken up more than 140 characters. The blog here allows for more space, so I'll explain here.
By the tweet, I meant that it was my desire for teaching to be an easy, "clock-in, sit in a few classes for a few hours a day, clock-out, go back early and nap the rest of day away" kind of job. It was my desire that I didn't feel guilty and useless every time I go out of a class gone wrong (it happens more often than anyone would like), that I didn't give a toss about allowing my students to grow to become their own person while still equipping them with the tools to navigate their way through the oft-unforgiving and tough world outside of the school gates, that I didn't allow my temperament to take over me, that I didn't find myself practicing things that were against my ideals, that I didn't feel like an incompetent buffoon who has no idea what he's doing in class. I was taking the side of the non-teachers there. I liked their view of what teaching meant. It was clean, clear-cut, free from frustration, doubt and depression. It wasn't grimy, tough and tiring (oh, so tiring) as it was looking at it from the inside.
So that's what I basically meant.
A person on twitter called me out on it, though. The person (may God bless the soul) said something along the lines of "yeah teaching isn't easy, but you get a lot of perks. No job is easy, all jobs require the worker to work hard. Quit your whining. Bitch." And sure enough, I agree with the person. I was definitely whining. Not the best of qualities to have in a person, especially when displayed on social media.
Now, a person who calls someone else (especially if that someone else is a stranger) a "bitch" on social media is usually referred to as a "hater". And because I've had my fair share of questions that sound like "how do you deal with the haterz?" I'm going to answer the question by revealing how I dealt with this person right here.
I replied "Sorry for being bitch :(". The person didn't reply after that.
Maybe that person was too busy beribadat pada bulan puasa to reply my tweet. That is a definite possibility. But I also want to talk about the other possibility, which is: they had nothing to say after that.
Imagine, if you will, you're on a badminton court. You're on your side of the court, then there's a net, then on the other side of the net is your opponent. This opponent of yours is the one that invited you over to the court, because they really want to beat you in this game called badminton. So they smash the shuttlecock in your direction. Here, you have the option of returning the shot. If you do, the game continues, the opponent gets a kick out of it because they are the ones that instigated the game, and if they win, they'll feel good about themselves. And let's remember, they are the ones that invited you over, so they are pretty confident they can beat you. But if you end up winning, they'll leave the game bitter and will resent you for beating them. Jatuh air muka, you know?
Then, you have another option, which is the one I prefer. When that opponent delivers a smash towards your court, you walk on over to their side of the court, join their side and congratulate them on scoring a point against an empty side of the court. Pat them on the back (not literally) and tell them what a good job they've done, scoring against an empty court. The response may vary, but I would like to think that the smasher just now would feel underwhelmed by this turn of events, and would walk away from the game altogether because they have no intention of scoring against an empty court. It's too easy, there's no challenge, and they can't take any pride away from winning against no one. Nobody set any rules to the game, so you're free to do whatever you want, really.
That's the analogy, anyway. So in a real situation, a person spews hate in your direction. Instead of spewing hate back at them, agree with them. Even if you don't actually agree with them, say that you agree with them anyway. Say, "you know what? You're right! MashaAllah you're an amazing human being for being right about that!" Provide them with no opposition whatsoever, and even go on their side and root for them. They, more often than not, walk away from their attempt to instigate conflict feeling baffled and empty. Or at least, that's the results I've seen so far from handling haterz in this way.
This is in no way intended to put yourself down. It's to diffuse conflict, to baffle and confuse the instigator and neutralise the situation so that it isn't so charged with negativity and animosity anymore. It's been working for me, so far. It might work for you too. Who knows?