Any truly dedicated teacher (especially at school level) would agree that the teacher inside them is always lurking in the background like a shadow. This sometimes manifests in real life situations outside the classroom in what I would call “split teacher personality syndrome”. It’s a condition whereby a teacher let’s out the ‘inner teacher’s spirit’. Confused right? Well keep on reading-
1. Let’s say you and I meet for the first time. Everything is going well, just having a pleasant chat about the weather at the bus stop. And then you say something like ‘ I seen the weather forecast, it will be raining tomorrow’. You may not know it, because we have become deft at hiding it, but the grammar police inside us cringes at the improper use of the tense.
2. Well, it’s a special occasion, or not, and you want to give a little present. We open the beautifully wrapped box, only to reveal a lovely necklace or maybe just a decoration. Lovely yes, but we’ll have you know that us teachers, we’d have loved a bunch of stationery a wee bit more, or a lot more depending on whether or not those pearls were real. Oh, and that voucher for a day at the spa, we’d take a day at the bookshop over that any day.
3. Oh, and of course there is a note attached to said present, and right there, on the right hand corner you have made a grievous spelling blunder, is grievous a bit much? Oh we think not- considering there is an ‘r’ and it’s not ‘suprise’ but ‘surprise’. You get the drift. As mentioned earlier we are good at ignoring this stuff, but our hands are itching to slap out our red pen (of which there is an abundant supply in the nooks and crannies of our purse- the raggedy one we carry to school each day) and set things right. On the plus side, the feeling subsides- until we open it up at home.
4. Something all teachers would attest to is their utter condemnation for bullying. It certainly bothers us when we see privileged folk being unkind and condescending to the little guy. In my case, it bothers me to the point where I feel I need to do something about it. However, being somewhat of the little guy myself, I am often not able to do so. Those are the times when I wish I had a superpower or something.
5. I can’t quite attest to this on behalf of anyone else, but chewing gum whilst engaged in a serious conversation is such a deal breaker. It’s often quite a pickle to decide whether to politely point this out all the while being disturbingly distracted by the movements of the jawline not to mention the occasional peek at said piece of gum, or to politely exit the room on pretense of using the washroom.
6. I’m pretty lucky to live in a culture where teachers are revered and respected. But then you have the bunch of people who will make the snide remarks belittling our profession and us. “Oh, you’re a teacher, I see”, is a simple and clearly benign statement, it’s the tone that gets you. We’ll have you know, it’s one of the toughest jobs out there and it taxes not only our minds, time (at home included) and efforts, but drains us emotionally as well. You try your hand at pacifying let alone teaching a bunch of super charged 6 year olds- I dare you. I’m not even asking you about the prep work.
I trust the humour in this piece will be well received, I really don’t mean to paint us teachers as fussy and rude. It’s just the little things that we become so well trained at. But we know when to draw the line. Wishing everyone a joyous day.