An English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher is speaking out a year after being fired for appearing in a TikTok video alongside her students in a series of videos appropriately, or ironically, on TikTok.
Jania Ashay, who uses the handle heyniaa_ first shared her experience when responding to a video posted by another former teacher who was let go due to a TikTok video.
Ashay called the ordeal a " very traumatizing experience", but that she is now "healed enough" to share her experience.
Ashay explained in order to complete her degree and get her license as an ESL teacher, she needed to complete a number of hours as a student teacher.
You can see her video here:
With "microaggressions up the a** about me and my kiddies who are also minorities" pasted in the overlay, Ashay described the school where she did her student teaching as "a suburb school".
"Before y'all ask, yes they were, and they treated me as such".
Ashay expressed how she was constantly on the receiving end of passive aggressive if not outright offensive remarks, from her supervisor at the school, giving an example of what she had to deal with in an overlay.
"Talking about the way I say 'ax' instead of 'ask' sometimes real bad in front of the kids."
"Y'all know that slips sometimes."
With part of her job accompanying the ESL students she was teaching to all of their classes, Ashay shared how she formed a bond with their fellow classmates.
As a result, two general education students asked if they could eat lunch with Ashay in her classroom, which being a "cool teacher" Ashay was more than happy to oblige.
These same students then asked Ashay if she wanted to participate in a TikTok video with them, not knowing the students were not supposed to use their phones during lunch hour.
Ashay disclosed she and the two students danced to a Nicki Minaj song, but assured viewers that the dance was "so PG".
Nonetheless, the two students were called in by the principal and instructed to take down the video.
They were also instructed not to tell Ashay about being called in to the principal's office, which Ashay believed was so she would be called in "blindsided".
Out of devotion and loyalty to Ashay, however, the students chose not to follow the latter instruction and did inform her of what happened.
Ashay later revealed she was called in to see the principal as she was in the middle of teaching, which Ashay believed to be a calculated power move, airing her frustrations in an overlay.
"She hated me the entire year."
"At first I was so angry with myself recording the TikTok I felt like I asked to be fired."
According to Ashay, who disclosed she recorded the entire meeting, the principal spoke to her "like [she] was a child", and after being belittled and scolded for her behavior, escorted Ashay to HR where she was promptly fired.
However, as Ashay would share in a second video, her contract stipulated she was still obligated to finish out the school year.
After taking the following day off to "get [her] thoughts together", Ashay decided rather than quit and leave early, she made the decision to finish out the school year with about a month and a half left.
Though Ashay openly admitted doing so was not easy.
"When I tell you that God was dragging me across the finish line, like truly dragging me, I did not want to go back."
"But like my mom said, at this point everything is out in the open now, you know how I feel, I know how you feel, so now I don't have to go with my little smile on."
Now working as a professional travel planner, Ashay revealed she skipped the last day of the school year to take a trip to Miami with her girlfriends, before then hopping on a flight to Jamaica for a week.
After some reflection, Ashay expressed that unpleasant as her experience was, it was also an important lesson for her to realize what she wanted to do with her life, aided by some possible divine intervention.
"Just trust [God]."
"He knows what he's doing."
"I would do all this all over again to end up where I am now."
"Teaching is the gift that he gave me, and there are other ways I am able to use that."
"Now I teach people who want to be travel agents how to be successful ones."
Ashay also expressed she doesn't hold hard feelings towards everyone at her former school, namely the head of ESL in the school district whom she referred to as a "saint".
"He didn't belong there, they're not paying him enough."
"He would come to my school, make sure I knew what I was doing, make sure thins were in order."
'Things she should have did as my principle."
Ashay also shared she has since let go of any long term anger or animosity she at one point held towards the principal.
"I'm not even mad at you, because you was just doing what needed to be done."
"God was using you as a vessel to take me to the next level, and now like I said I'm teaching girls who love to travel, girls who just want to find something to be passionate about, and I'm able to teach them how to do that."
In a third video, Ashay shared an apology letter written to her by one of the two students with whom she danced.
Before opening the letter for viewers, Ashay made it clear no one asked the student to write the letter and warned the letter might induce tears.
"Ms. Phillips, I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry."
"You don't deserve this, you are one of the kindest and outgoing teacher that I know."
"This whole situation is mostly my fault because it was my idea to make the video."
After apologizing a number of times, the student went on to express her love for Ashay and how much help and comfort she provided her during the school year.
After she finished reading the letter aloud, Ashay made it very clear to the student that it was not her fault, and the outcome was "inevitable", once again claiming that all that transpired was "God's plan".
Ashay then showed a collection of drawings and letters given to her by her former students, making it clear that it wasn't just the young girl who wrote the letter who held Ashay in a special place in their heart.
Something Ashay felt likely made the principle uncomfortable, and thus contributed to her dismissal.
One student even wrote in their letter that Ashay should be the principal.
Following several requests, Ashay finally published the offending video which cost her her job as a teacher.
After a brief introduction, reminding viewers the video was initially posted to the TikTok page of her students, Ashay showed some brief clips of her former life as a college cheerleader, and the impressive dance moves Ashay claims viewers "could have gotten" in the video with the students.
She then cut to the offending video, with the faces of the children censored, which consisted of Ashay and her two students doing some subtle arm movements, but not much else.
In a surprising turn, Ashay revealed upon making a visit to the website of her former school, she discovered the principal who fired her appears to no longer be employed there.
But Ahsay isn't interested in what led to her departure, declaring that to be between "her and God."
TikTok expressed support.
Ashay ended the third update revealing in addition to her continued work as a travel planner, she has since found employment at a new school where she feels much more at home.
"I am now teaching at a school where the kids look like me, they talk like me, they appreciate me."
"The principal does, the staff does, the kids do, it's just a whole different environment."
Ashay added she might one day post the video she recorded of being fired by the principal.
No doubt her 69 thousand TikTok followers are curious to see and hear all that transpired.