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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Second Grader's Observation of an Old War Horse of a Teacher

Last Thursday I came face to face with a creature without feeling or empathy. This creature says what is on its mind without regard to manners or decency. This
creature is small in stature but has the ability to terrify some adults just by being in its
presence. This creature looks sweet and innocent on the inside but can be carnivorous
in appetite for the taste of an adult. This creature has a name. It is called a 2nd grader.

I finished my last flight of the day. It was a long week. I was tired. I'm still working 70 plus hours a week but do my best to always look presentable. I mean one tries one's best - doesn't one? The last flight was a rough one. The kids were too excited. Running a mission like that can be as painful as sitting in the chair of an unskilled dentist sporting a mouth full of cavities and being told that there is no Novocain. The mission ended at 1:35 P.M. I rushed to help the staff ready the ship for the next missions and left the Voyager.
I stopped in the Briefing Room to check a few things. I glanced at the clock and moved toward the Briefing Room door. I decided to make a stop in the Discovery to grade a few of math papers from my advanced math morning class.

I was stopped in the Briefing Room's doorway by a class of 2nd graders all walking nicely behind their teacher with arms folded and halos somewhat firmly attached to their heads. The procession of ducklings stretched down the hall so I looked for a gap. There is always a gap in these school lines. Just look for the student with the attention
disorder. He is the one looking everywhere except at where the line is going. This student is usually several steps behind the person in front of him. He is also the one that has the little girl in spotless clothes and pearl white skin prodding him from behind telling him to move it or the teacher would be informed of his inattentiveness in no less than 1000 words once they returned to the classroom.

I glanced down the line looking for the gap. There it was, the boy whose eyes were
everywhere, looking with renewed interest at objects and bricks he's seen thousands of times before. Behind him was the girl with the curled up nose and the finger poking him in the back. Yes, I called it right!

I waited for the right moment and darted through the gap. My sudden movement startled the boy and drew his attention. He looked up into my face. I could see his eyes focus. Clarity returned to his face. He was back with us.
"Mister," he said as I walked beside him heading to my math class.
"What can I do for you?" I responded trying to remember if I'd every seen this one
before. My mind drew a blank.
"You really look worn out," he said. His eyes never left mine. I was surprised by his frankness. I slowed down to avoid any further conversation with this child of darkness. I watched from behind as the class moved further ahead.

"Don't you know who that is?" Miss Perfect asked him with a finger in his ribs.
"That is Mister Williamson. He runs the Space Center. You shouldn't of said that.

At that moment I felt the wrinkles widen. I ran my fingers through my hair to try to return it to some form of order. That's when another hair from my head drifted down to the floor.
Gone - the rich head of hair. Now the forest is thinning.
Gone - the pearl white teeth. Now off yellow is the best I can hope for.
Gone - the memory known to be as sharp as a tack. Now I rely on a steady stream
of sticky notes.
Gone - the days my students wanted to be like me. Now they wonder if teaching
really can do this to someone.

It's OK. To be honest, I'm glad I'm where I am. There is a sense of accomplishment in looking worn out. It is the look of a honest life's work. So I wear my "wasted" appearance proudly but have a favor to ask you readers.

Let's not bring the subject up again. Now I'll drift back to sleep in my comfy office chair. Be sure to wake me up for my next mission and REALLY be sure to wake me up when its time to go home.

Mr. Williamson
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