Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just Ignore Me if you See Me

A week or two ago, I read in the newspaper that the husband of my high school Spanish teacher passed away. The other night as I lay in bed, I thought about the time I saw her downtown after an Eric Clapton concert. (Why I was thinking of this, I don't know-my wanders in weird circles sometimes) Jake and I came out of the arena and I saw her-and so did someone else-for they called out "Look! Mrs. B****! Senora B****!" She turned, gave a little wave with an awkward laugh, and tried to keep going but whoever it was was relentless and so she stopped to chat. How cool I thought-to see her and see that she was as quirky as ever. Yeah real cool, until I became a teacher myself.

When you are a teacher, you learn to shop in a town other than your own school district. Otherwise-as you scan the checkout lines at the grocery store, you have to contemplate whether it's safe to go through or not. "What did I buy, what did I buy?" you think glancing through your basket. Anything questionable will be the talk of the students at school the next day. Forget about buying any alcohol ever again, or even setting foot near a bar! I remember hearing some of my students saying to another teacher, "Hey Mr. P*****, have a good Friday night? Party it up!" Forget about a quick run into the drugstore early Saturday morning before you've showered wearing a crappy old t-shirt, your sweatpants, and hair in a ponytail either. You are sure to run into at least one of your students and if you're lucky a parent or two.

Some kids are subtle and nice and will quietly acknowledge you but for the most part, the majority of them feel it is necessary to alert everyone in the area that they see and know you. "Hey Mrs. G!!!!!!!!" I think that they forget that teachers are people too and actually live outside of the school. There are some pluses though. I had a sweet student Christine that worked at a restaurant in town. When I saw her she was always very professional and in a few instances tried to get us in quicker or to a nicer table. I learned really fast, the places I could go or should avoid.

So if you are a student and you see your teacher in public, unless they approach you first, you should probably just walk away or pretend not to see them. And if you feel it is absolutely necessary to make contact or speak to them, for goodness sakes, please use your inside voice!


Dana said...

My dad dated a teacher for a very long time and I remember how horrible it was going places with her! What made it worse was that she had been teaching for almost 30 years and everyone knew her!

Jennifer said...

I really enjoyed this entry. I too am a teacher, and I disagree with how teachers are put under the microscope. I have very strong feelings about keeping my privacy when out. I don't mind if a student says "hi" to me out in the "real world" so to speak. It makes me feel good, but I certainly don't want anyone passing judgement on where I'm at, how I'm dressed, if I'm drinking in a bar (of coure not next to students' parents), or what I have in my shopping cart. I agree that many students don't give it much thought that their teachers have lives of their own, not to mention private lives. It's like we're these robots that live at school and that's it. I remember when I was younger. There were times when I saw a teacher out (usually in elementary school), and I was so excited to see them, and I'd walk right up to them and greet them with a big smile. I loved my teachers as a child which is one of the reasons why I wanted to be one. I do remember my health teacher from elementary and middle school walking out of Tops once and I saw with beer and/or smoking. I did pass judgement on her only b/c she was the one that told us that "drinking was bad/unhealthy and so was smoking" and that we shouldn't do it. I remember thinking "what a hypocrite". I, understand of course, now that it was her "job" to do so. Great topic today...really got my juices flowing. Thanks Jo to da anne

Jessica said...

Your post reminds me of a story that a minor celebrity was telling on the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson, I think, so this is awhile ago). Anyhow, I think he was an author and not used to being recognized. As it happened, he stopped at a pharmacy to buy Preparation H, and it was there that the unlucky fellow was recognized. Before long, he had a regular entourage following him around the store. He couldn't even dump the Prep H somewhere. He was mortified.