I’ve forgotten many things in the course of my nine years as a teacher – names, faces, lesson plans. But there is one type of memory that never fades:
A negative encounter with a parent who you can tell is the type of person who would be rude to their waiter at a restaurant.
I’ve had a handful of said incidents, and I can recall with stunning accuracy the details of each.1 And I expect to be able to until the day I die. Those memories last forever.
About three weeks from now, nine years ago, was my first day of teaching as a Mav. It was 4th/8th period double block Algebra II. 2
I used the wrong overhead projector — one that that was only meant to be used with a graphing calculator, not with markers — and it was so dark and muddy on screen that nobody could read anything I wrote. After class, Brian Weaver showed me his Wacom Graphire wireless tablet and Interwrite Workspace, and — if you’ve ever been in my classroom — you know the rest.3
This week marks the end of semester number 18, and the actual start of year number ten.4 I have no issues admitting that I’ve wondered how much longer I can do this. Spoiler: Just about anybody who has been in one job for seven or eight5 years will start to wonder if there is something else out there for them, and I’m only human. I am no different.
And if there is any theme that dominates this past week of work, it is this: I am only human.
If anybody reading this has ANY designs about possibly becoming a teacher:
Don’t. Unless you really care about the kids.
Nineteen months ago, I packed my bags and headed over to a program where the students had signed up for a teacher who had decided to ride off into the sunset.7 The program I helped bring in was… perhaps a bit more rigorous than what some of the kids had signed up for,8 and as such we were met with a wee bit of resistance. This time around, with a full campaign under the belt, most9 of our students were better aware of what they were getting into.
And of course, things are wonderful.10
Seemingly in the time it takes a butterfly to flap its wings, three semesters as a Dragon have come and gone.
You probably have not noticed,11 but this is indeed my first blog post of the school year. To make up for a little bit of lost time, here is an amusing exchange from the first day of school:
Me:Wait… you went and got food… and you didn’t bring me any?!?12
Student: Uh… well… I didn’t know you’d want any. I can bring you some next time. I got it from work.
Me: Where do you work?
Student: Taco Bell.
Me: … … … Yeah don’t bring me any.
And finally: Star Wars Episode VII opens tomorrow. Here’s hoping that it’s the first one in 30-plus years that doesn’t suck.
- Many of these were in Season 1 — my first with Pre-AP Algebra II — but a smattering in more recent years bring to mind Arne’s comments about suburban soccer moms… [↩]
- Incidentally, Algebra II is not what it was back then. Another story for another book… [↩]
- I remember a week or two later, there were three other faculty members observing my class simultaneously — my assistant principal, my department chair, and the teacher whose classroom I was using during the 4th/8th block. I vividly recall a kid pointing out during the lesson on rational functions, “Dude, there are 4 teachers in the room right now.” [↩]
- And nine years later, I still haven’t been to the Blanton Museum… [↩]
- or nine… or ten… [↩]
- Or perhaps that is only for those of us who are cursed with perfectionist’s genes~ [↩]
- Yes: insert bizarro poetic justice joke. [↩]
- Apparently. [↩]
- but of course not all [↩]
- Well. Mostly :) [↩]
- Don’t lie. [↩]
- Keep in mind, this was the very first day of school, and I didn’t even know the kid… [↩]