Do you remember how weird it was when you were a kid and you ran into your teacher somewhere other than school?  Maybe you saw her at the grocery store or at the mall.  She’d smile and make small talk with your mom as you stood by silently wondering why she wasn’t at school even though it was 5 PM on a Saturday.  And like the day you caught your mom strategically placing presents under the Christmas tree while your dad ate Santa’s cookies, your visions of a perfect world are dashed as you realize your teacher actually exists outside of the classroom.

Last weekend I dashed the visions of one of my own students in an awkward moment that went way beyond the innocuous meeting in the cereal aisle.  I was running.  But I wasn’t just running.  I was sweaty and smelly and red faced and makeup-less and out of breath and in desperate need of a shower. 

I probaby could have (and should have) avoided the whole thing because when I stopped running and approached my former kindergarten student and his entire family, I realized just a second too late that I was so unrecognizable in my current state of yuck that they had no idea who I was.  The surprised mother thankfully made the connection once I started talking, but that little 6-year-old boy just stood there and stared at me like I was Darth Vader singing a Lady Gaga song.  There are just some people that are super cool on their own, but put them together and the result isn’t so pretty.

The father must have sensed my discomfort because he graciously encouraged me to continue with my run while he chased after his traumatized son who had raced off on his bike.  As I repositioned my earbuds and attempted to find my pace again, I reassured myself that a chance meeting with a student could have been worse.  I could have been walking down my driveway in my pajamas to retrieve the newspaper.  I could have been at the beach wearing a string bikini.  I could have been singing karaoke while downing my third shot of tequila.

And then I caught of glimpse of my reflection in a car window.  Nope, couldn’t have been much worse than this. 

Grabbing some inspiration from the blogging guru of writing prompts, Miss Mama Kat

12 Comments on Teachers Exist Outside of School…But They May Look a Little Different

  1. haha! I'm a teacher, and I know exactly what you're talking about! I teach high school, so the awkward moments have been when I run into students in the check-out line at Walmart when they are obviously getting drinks to mix with gratuitous amounts of liquor, while I am getting some unhealthy snacks and going straight home (like a loser).

    It was so much better/weirder in Ireland (where I did my internship) where teachers and students would be out drinking at the same pubs on a school night! Good times.

  2. Bwa Ha! I'm sure you didn't look as bad you thought. We live in a small town so we run into my boys' teachers a lot and they always freeze up and act weird too!

  3. This post made me laugh out loud!!

    As a teacher for young kiddos with autism, I often worked with children in their homes. Although most of my kids were nonverbal, I would get the same reaction as you upon entering their house. It was written all over their faces, "Ms. Heather?? In my house??? But…but she's not at school? WHY???" Lol.

  4. I ran into a teacher from Junior High my first night as a college Freshman… in a bar. Listening to stories about how I was such a good chalkboard eraser cleaner while I tried to look 21 was about the most uncomfortable I've ever been!

  5. Sneakers described our experience. My 4yo daughter has Down's and when her teachers come for their once-a-year- home visit, she gets wildly excited and super-suspicious all at once. But we've never had an awkward moment like what you're describing! LOL…ah well….

  6. I've experienced this many, many times. Word to the wise: don't live in the town where you teach. My husband used to think I was crazy to say this but he never understood these moments since he taught in a different district! Also, he never experienced, "Do you have a minute to speak with me about my daughter's … (report card/grade point average/ability to attend an Ivy League School…?") over the frozen food counter in the local supermarket on a day when you're rushing home to start an already late dinner or when you thought you could sneak out makeup-less in an old t-shirt and ripped jeans!

  7. Oh my goodness, too funny! I was a teacher before becoming a SAHM and I totally know what you mean! Thanks for stopping by my site. I really appreciate the support! I know I"m going to enjoy reading yours!

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