I did three hours of observation at my high school’s library this week (rounding out a tidy three hours of the TWENTY-THREE HOURS I need for the semester–trying to stay calm about that). It was a fun time except for being a zombie for most of the week because I stupidly schedule all of my visits for eight of nine am. I haven’t been up that early in about a year, so that was hard to swallow.
Anyway, the trips were also kind of a shock. All of the middle school students, and even the high schoolers, looked so young. On my first day a sixth grade boy asked me for help with his homework, which I was able to provide–I still know about factors and multiples despite not taking math in four years!
On the second day a seventh grade boy came over asked me if I was a teacher or just an observer. When I said I was just an observer he walked away in what I thought was a very dismissive manner. Then my tenth-grade Global teacher, who I adore and have adored since I met him two years before he was actually my teacher, walked into the library. He did a double take when he saw me until I waved. Then he came over and said he had not recognized that teacher over there. He meant me.
On the third day I went around the school visiting with any old teachers I could find. I hadn’t been back to the school for four years. All of my old teachers, therefore, looked older. It was a shock. All of the teachers I had are suddenly just adults–contemporaries even. While I am realizing that I am an adult when I feel far from it. The idea that I will one day be in some authority position with children is horrifying. And so very strange. How can I look like a teacher when I still feel like a student?
I also saw one of my favorite teachers out of the corner of my eye only to subsequently have him disappear before I could say hello and confirm that he was going bald. I am now sternly telling myself that I should not under any circumstances try and get in touch with him because then the “magic” will be completely gone. All of my teachers will be real people again. And I’ll have no idea how to interact with any of them should we meet again.