I remember being in junior high, at Fuddruckers after a night at youth group, and seeing two of my teachers eating dinner together. No, not just eating dinner together, on a date. She was the Home EC teacher who gave me my only B in junior high because I wouldn’t eat eggs, and once accused me of stealing an oven knob. He was the wrinkly wood shop man with hearing aids covered by the massive amounts of wiry grey hair protruding from his ears. It was a match made in Heaven.
I don’t know what was more shocking – seeing two teachers on a date (both were at least a thousand years old) or realizing that after all the students have left for the day, these teacher-people are actually adults with real lives that don’t revolve around us. And they eat things like french fries.
In elementary school, I think most of us were under the impression that once the students left for the day, the teachers just shut down, almost like robots. Or maybe they ate dinner in the cafeteria, and then slept on cots in the library. It never occurred to me that they might leave, go home, be with family, let alone go out and shop at the mall (saw my first grade teacher there once at Christmas) or to church or have any kind of life beyond the classroom.
Now the student has become the teacher. I grew up in this town and I feel like I run into people I know all the time. But when I run into my students, I can see the deer-in-headlights look in their eyes, and I’m sure I am mirroring that “am I in trouble?” look right back at them. Because, as my luck would have it, I seem to run into my students the most when I’m either: a. dressed in sweats, no makeup, unbrushed hair (which, unbeknownst to them, is my natural state) or b. dressed in something they would call “creepy,” which would be like high heels, or short shorts, anything remotely sexy or c. purchasing a Britney Spears cd, underwear, or alcohol.
Its a law of science – when I’m least prepared to see students, and least wanting to see students, I will see students. Never fails. Tonight it was running into Safeway to get Pacificos and birthday cards for a family party, and I literally ran into a student and his mom. This student in particular has visited the principal a few times on my account, and you could see the look of panic on his face. Ironically, I had just gone on a run, so was dressed in tiny neon running shorts with built-in underwear he could probably see the lining of. Perfect.
On the flip-side, I have students that actually want to see me outside of the class and like, hang out. I get invited to baseball games, volleyball, birthday parties, tp-ing, the movies, family dinner, etc. Its kinda adorable.
Teaching is going well right now…so well in fact, that I’ve applied to get my teaching credential. Its an online program mostly, and I’ll continue to work full-time for the next twenty months or so. I’m a little scared of being stretched too thin and not being able to go to weeknight Giants games :) or hang out and have fun anymore, but I am excited about making an adult decision, something towards that mythical “career” thing we’re all supposed to want so much.
A tiny part of me also wants another picture in a cap and gown, as all of my photos were lost in the great computer crash of 2007. Just kidding, but I did just think that would be neat to graduate “again.” Add some cool letters after my name. Rachel Danger W., SA. (super awesome)