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!