Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Santa Claus & OLG's Miss E

It is amazing what a flood of memories a single statement can bring up.

And what lies they tell you with regards to how you, as a teacher, will or will not affect the teens you are teaching...

Okay, in order of the title.

So I scoured through my journals to try to figure out who had said what, when, with regards to my "one and twenty" post. I really was curious enough to pull out dusty tomes best left untouched (most of the time, really).

It was in the battered and beaten notebook I kept during my sailing days where I found the entry. Reminiscing, (as I did much of--I mean there wasn't much else to do during your midnight watch), while in transit between Bajia Candelaria and Mazatlan after talking endlessly with Santa Claus--really, maybe I mentioned him before? I'll look-- that I found my reference.

It was Mr. Claus that brought up the search for Home; the need to connect with others--especially those who already know you. Those with whom you don't have to start from scratch.

So what if you were a poopie-head when you were a kid, if they were your friends then, and loved you as friends will, they will see past that horrid kid to the person you are today--and remind you of your poopie-headed adventures and you will laugh and laugh, cuz really, what else can you do? That was you, after all.

For Santa, it was very important to have folks around him that knew you better than anyone else, cuz, well, by the time you got to be his age, most of your family is gone. He was the baby of the group. He lived through wars (and wartime shortages) and served in the marines (Semper FIE!--please don't shoot me ;)), and had accumulated many careers, miles, kids, and an ex wife or two under his belt. And now he was trying to make it in Mexico, cuz even when you're Santa Claus, your Social Security check is still only a pittance, + the VA bennies.

Aaah, it feels good to be able to place that in correct context.


Okay...Miss. E...OMG, OLG's, Miss E.

I have to keep reminding myself that she was only 29. It really does bring things more into perspective. I mean, I still blame her for a whole heck of a lot, but that's cuz I have those "letting go" issues, right?

Miss E. was as awesome as she was traumatizing. She was our 6th and 7th grade teacher, right? Or was it 5th and 6th? See how bad it was? I'd rather not remember:
Sr. J
Ms. H
Sr. J/Ms. M/Ms. G, and other random subs, crazy year
Ms. G, but the nice one! HA!
Ms. R who was new and had this thing about our nails being the right length and us being super neat...
Ms. E
Ms. E
Mrs. T

That seems right.

So when I read Suzanna's comment:
"but I do remember that one of the OLG teachers said that the only lifelong friends we'll make are the ones you make in college. How disappointing to hear for 7th/8th graders with their friends in tow."
I sat at my desk stunned as it all came back. Her voice, the nonchalant way she said it, were we in her car? It was almost summer. Were we helping with something? Maybe the graduation? I think I've inherited Homer Simpson's brain, remembering things the way I want to have had them happened, with green hair, and a jack-in-the-box ;). Whatever the case, I was floored.

What did she mean by that! How could she say that! Did she realize how much she was belittling the friendships we had currently? And she thought I was tactless? (Yeah, I've been this way all my life.)

But she was only 29, and using that 20/20 hindsight? Sheltered. She may have grown up in "LA" but she was an El Sereno kid. She went to school a few miles from the house where she grew up. She lived NEXT DOOR to her dad. I think she was uber bitter and disappointed, and really missed her mom (she'd just died, I think). I honestly thought she was WAY older than the 27 we'd guessed during the "how old am I" guessing game in 6th grade.

I mean, really, I am tactless, I fully admit it, I can't help it! I will bust out with the gods' honest truth -- if you are my peer. If you are a 12-year-old, however? Who might even sorta look up to me? I will not dash your hopes. I will be positive and patient (though I stop short at lying) and she is the reason why.

I never "called anyone out" in the middle of class to embarrass them; even if I was having a bad day; even if I hated them with every core of my being; even if I thought they need it. As surly and adult-like as teens will act, they are still kids and these things will stick, I should know.

And if I ever meet up with an ex-student who has told me they just got accepted into Stanford's teacher education program? I won't tell them that they just made the worst decision in the world! That they shouldn't teach! And not because of their personality or what I remember about who they were back in my classroom. I'd never go on and on about how teaching is the most under-appreciated job in the universe; that no matter what they think they can do with the system they will fail. Not when you see the gleam in their eyes and the energy they have to expend! Cuz all that told me was that she was bitter and really should get out of the teaching world...and not be the principal of our old elementary school. (Oh yes, she was.)

And just to round out the whole Tactless clan? Because of her status at that school? My little brother got to experience her too. That last conversation I had with her? Even worse than the "don't be a teacher" one, was her utter disbelief that the child in Kindergarten wasn't MINE. That I was lying about being his sister and not his mother.

Lady, I may be "blessed" with the overly big tummy and child-bearing hips of my dad's side of la familia, but really and truly, I think I'd know if I'd carried and delivered a baby while trying to finish high school. Just sayin'.


Where was I? I was nowhere...that was me really needing to rant and try to get it all out in the quietest way possible. Cuz really, who am I going to tell this all to? Andy? Poor thing hears enough about how awful my day was to have to deal with my childhood trauma. Have I mentioned how much I love the blogiverse? So very much cheaper than therapy :).

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