Today I went to work with my Aunt Signe. (It’s sig-knee, btw.) She teaches grade one at a nearby elementary school. I was a little uptight because I haven’t spent a lot of time with small people and I’m cleaning it up when I say: it’s not at the top of my “to do” list. All I could picture were 18 sets of snotted-on, grubby, sticky hands reaching for me, a la Shaun of the Dead.
The day wasn’t so bad, and I have to say, I have all the more respect for teachers now. This doesn’t go for Uni profs – that’s (ideally) like communicating with other adults, and elementary school is like being immersed in an entirely different culture. This is a culture that has currency in phrases like: “He hit me first!” and, “My sister’s name starts with a ‘j’” and, “I had a cookie for a snack!” (What? Who asked if you did?)
I didn’t like them staring at me for seemingly no reason. Did they expect me to entertain them? Did they think I was going to teach them something? Were they wondering where I got my sweater?
Teaching public school was never on my list of possible careers, but I can put it firmly in the “no” pile now. I’m going to leave educating small, smoochy brains to others, and I’ll keep searching for fulfilling employment elsewhere. I always had a lot of respect for teachers (and nurses, btw), but now I appreciate it a little more.