Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'm usually good at not taking things personally; it's pretty much the most important rule of survival in teaching [other than "Do not sleep with students" of course, which I am beyond exemplary at obeying FYI]. But occasionally, maybe due to moon phases & hormones, I slip up and let things affect me.

For example, the young Anakin - who is no longer in any of my classes since the quarter change but still owes hours & a project to earn his credit - spent 15 minutes alternately saying "I don't know" and "This is stupid" while I was trying to help him through his Catcher in the Rye project before muttering "Holden's just weird, he likes writing and gets along with his English teacher, I've never met an English teacher I like." Gee, thanks. I know, intellectually, he has issues plaguing him that I can't begin to understand and his attitude reflects them; it has little if anything to do with me and my value as a person & teacher. Still.

Yet on the other hand, I should also know better than to take a bow anytime a student professes that I am THE BEST TEACHER EVER. It feels fine, but really their experiences are limited, they're reacting to my patient & kind demeanor (yes, I do have one), they are simply well-adjusted forward-thinking individuals who appreciate my enthusiasm for a subject. So I try to send all comments directed at me through a credibility filter and keep on keepin' on.

However, when I get a personal message from a member of my favorite band OR have an actual Facebook IM conversation [okay, we exchanged about 60 words, 50 of them mine...] with another member, I immediately have visions of hanging out with them backstage, where they find me immensely witty & delightful and wonder why they never invited me before. When I've stalked them. Via e-mail and Facebook and throwing my Bad Mom card onstage with a message of love.

CRAZY PERSON UPDATE, 1:02: Brian (we're like *this*) just chatted with me, too! Even included a winking emoticon! Feel free to send cash for my therapy sessions.


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I'm letting your celebrity stalking tendencies run rampant. I say: Go, you.

And for those not so nice comments, I just hope you pull up some thick skin and remember, they may view you and these high school days differently, someday. They are just weighed down in their hard times.

You are a mighty fine teacher, in every way.

Shana said...

I love a story with a happy ending. And the moral of this story? Celebrity stalking REALLY DOES pay off! Yay! I always secretly knew it would.

PS: If I were in a band, I'd totally dig you as a goupie. You so belong backstage.

brandy101 said...

You got a WINK?! You got a WINK?!?

Move over Pamela desBarres...there*s someone groupie-ier...


(ps - I am actually squealing for you over the wink. I too am a total teenybopper when it comes to guys in bands)

Gretchen said...

Student opinions really don't mean anything? Seriously?

Oh great. I once had a student come into class and tell me she'd seen Oprah (on tv) the day before, and O told her to tell the people she admired how much they meant to her. So (as we both started choking up) she told me what a great teacher I'd been and that she would always remember me.

Now, I guess you've burst my bubble. I guess I really do suck after all. Sure she was only a junior, but I thought her opinion was good. Hell, at the time, she was only like 6 years younger than me!

Allison said...

Ok, that is hysterical that last part about you throwing your card onstage. It must be difficult being a teacher and guiding adolescents through the toughest part of their life!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I love that the "Cheers, Stephanie" note is thought of as a "message." Who knew 14 little letters could carry so much weight? Super funny!

As for young Anakin, well, there isn't much to say. If he doesn't learn to wise up and appreciate when a talented and dedicated teacher is attempting to help him so that he doesn't end up asking "would you like fries with that order?" for the rest of his life, than it very well be his loss.

Chin up, though. I am 100% sure that there are a ton of kids that you are able to continually motivate and reach.


JCK said... know...throwing your cards can get you into hot water. Sounds all tingly...this IM thing.

As for being a great teacher, I am sure that you are one. And the troubled kid? Just the phrases that he uttered make me immediately think that he believes HE is stupid and is afraid because he can't get it.

lisahgolden said...

I would definitely lose my sh*t if I got a facebook message from one of my celebrity honeys.

Heck, one of my favorite bloggers laid a kiss on my and I still haven't washed my cheek.

San Diego Momma said...

I have the thinnest skin ever in the world, so I don't think I could be a teacher, or a lawyer, or a celebrity, and most days, it's hard being a mom too...b/c you should hear the things my 5-year-old says to me.

That was a really bad sentence. I'm sorry.

Cool on the band member! I love the throwing your card up on stage tactic and will employ it myself.

That was a bad sentence too.

I'll just go to bed now.

shrink on the couch said...

I say soak up all that good teacher appreciation. You deserve it.

As for your groupie alter ego, I can't think of a better moonlighting gig.


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