My first grade teacher:
“Since you have already learned everything that we are planning on teaching you this year, we would like you to help the class delinquents with their school work.”
“But they are stupid and lazy and they always hit me at recess.”
12 years later….
Student in my French conversation class:
“How do you say table in French?”
“Table. Honestly, it’s the same word in French and English. You’ve asked me 4 times already tonight. If you ask me one more time, I may have to hit you.”
I am paraphrasing the teacher and student slightly, but the quotes from me are accurate to the best of my recollection. As a result of these very positive teaching experiences, I learned that I do not have a calling for the teaching professions.
Particularly in the first grade, in which I was basically forced to do the school work for 3 boys under penalty of bruised shins and bloody noses. They were not nice boys, and they had no desire to learn anything even in the first grade. They are probably seasoned felons by now. Really.
What I didn’t understand then, and still don’t understand now, is how someone can not be excited about learning new things. Even now, I love taking classes. I love being a student. I love all of the accoutrements of the classroom. I love buying pencils and notebooks. I love going to the bookstore and getting my books. I am an enthusiastic, if not particularly hard working student. I’m an excellent learner of new things, and I like to connect them.
It seems like teaching would be a natural progression, but I have always hated it. I have very unreasonable expectations of what other people are capable of absorbing. I do not like to repeat myself. I do not like being the focus of attention but if the students fail to pay attention I like that even less.
It is a lose-lose proposition all around.
The irony, of course, is that I am good at it. So I do a lot of it. At work, I am the go-to person in spite of my occasionally thorny personality and propensity for profanity. I am the helper and explainer. I am the one who knows everything. The one who bats cleanup. The one who makes sure everyone is doing Ok. The one who does everyone’s work so we can all be done on time.
Which is flattering, and mostly great.
I’d really rather be the one who gets taken care of. The one who get swept off her feet. The one who gets coddled. The one who people check on.
Sometimes it would be nice to have people worried about me a little bit.
But then I kick myself in the ass, wipe my eyes and go back to work.
I may not be a teacher, but I do like to take care of my people…