Friday, May 24, 2013

Perils of Teaching in My Town

This evening reminded me of the perils of teaching high school in the same city where I live. 

To begin, students can't separate school from the real world.  When I see them in public places, like the grocery store, they eye me suspiciously, as if they were thinking, "Strange teacher, you have left the building in which I see you daily.  Do you have some business outside of the learning institution?  Why are you creeping about where you don't belong?"
I do NOT sleep here!
If the above happens, I am actually blessed, because the student refuses to approach.  However, the danger appears when a student decides to engage me further.  You may wonder why that is dangerous.  Well, the danger lies in whether I remember the student's name. 

You see, recognition is usually never a problem.  I'll recognize a student for six to ten years after I've taught them.  But, I can't guarantee I'll remember their name or situation.  So, I must improvise to the best of my abilities.  I readily admit to knowing them, and ask how they are.  Then, I pray desperately that they will provide some clue, some tidbit of information, that will allow my brain to make the connection between face and name.  If I'm really lucky, I'll remember what they meant to me, and where they were headed when I last knew them.  If I'm not, I'll flounder, ask inane questions, and appear addle minded in my old age.

See?  I'm a normal person!  Sorry I can't
remember your name. 
I can pretend pretty well, but I won't deny that I've been in my share of awkward moments.  It isn't personal.  I really like all my students.  However, I've been teaching seven years, and have had about 140 students every year.  Since I suck at math, my phone tells me the answer to that equation is 980 students.  So please, my lovely students, be forgiving if I look at you with complete and total desperation.  I am a lowly woman with a limited amount of mental capacity who just survived another week of proctoring SOL exams.  I'm normal.  I promise.  Be kind.

My second biggest complaint is that my students see me sloppy outside of school.  I planned on going into great detail about how they have impeccable timing when it comes to seeing me at my worst, particularly after I've just left the gym, but, upon further consideration, I realized that I always look sloppy outside school and there really is no coincidence here.  When I'm not at school, they will probably see me at my worst.

So, I won't even dwell on that anymore.  A girl has to live normally, right?

Beth - 0
Students - 1

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