Friday, June 08, 2007

Teaching

Did I ever tell you that I taught high school?

No, I'm sure I didn't since it's been out of my working memory for a few years, now.

Rabbi of the school: Have you ever considered teaching psychology?

Me: No, never.

Rabbi: But didn't you once tell me that you thought community service is a step on the self-actualization pyramid?

Me: Must have been someone else.

Rabbi: I'll send you the contract. We start August 23. You have all summer to read the book. You'll do fine. There's a teacher's manual.
There's a lot more to tell.

There's the whole going back to high school thing.
There's the I don't have the foggiest idea how to teach thing,
There's the this is the last class of the day, thing,
There's the these are high school seniors! thing.
There's the I don't do meetings, thing.
Assistant Principal: Faculty meetings, third Sunday of the month, 6:30 p.m.

Me: Uh, huh.

Assistant Principal: They're mandatory.

Me: Well. . .

Assistant Principal: There will be food.

Me: I see (but nice try, seriously).
There were enough variables to doom the year to failure. But I did it for two, had some fun, and for sure could have got a 5 on the AP test. A couple of kids did get 5's, but not very many of them, and I felt guilty about that, and after the second year told the principal that there was no way I would come back again, he had to find a real psychology teacher, and he said,
I already have.
Well then. It bothered me for years that not much good came out of the community service experiment.

Then something happened. Today, something happened.

I was in the candy store. You have to understand. I don't buy candy. I rarely eat candy. I've got a bowl of hard candy (coffee) on my desk at work and have had 3 pieces in 4 months. Ice cream, yes, especially with hot fudge. Frosting, for sure, I'll leave the cake. But generally, not candy.

I had it in mind to go to the Illinois Nut & Candy Store on Dempster Street in Skokie to take pictures for my blog carnival this Sunday, the Carnival of All Substances.

You do know that chocolate is a substance, correct?

But as long as I was there I had to buy something. I bought some salted almonds, cashews, and chocolate covered pretzels. I'm eating them right now as a matter of fact (the pretzels). Anyway, one of the counter people looked at me and said,

"I know you from somewhere."

Well, I didn't know her, but she looked like a really sweet kid, blond and blue-eyed, the type you see on Happy Days or the Brady Bunch, or that Christian dramedy about the dad who's a pastor and has a bunch of gorgeous young adult/teenage kids who are gorgeous but have problems.

This kid was maybe 24.

"I know you from somewhere." She says again.

I'm busy taking pictures. White chocolate, candy-coated apricots, chocolate covered raisins, swizzle sticks, mouth-watering candied bark. This is all before lunch.

I don't even see the kid, really, I'm so busy snapping pics. The candy's so beautiful at this store. "Nah," I say, not looking up.

"I do, I know you, I really do. Were you ever a teacher? I think I was in your class."

I whirl around to get a better look. My brain kicks in. "Why of course!" I gasp. "But what's your name?"

She tells me. "Of course you're ____. You were so nice! I mean, are so nice. We have to get a picture. This is great!" I say. Then a little embarrassed, "That wasn't such a great class. Sorry."

"No, it was fine. It wasn't your fault. The class was just a blow-off class. We weren't there to learn anything. But YOU ARE THE REASON I'M MARRIED TODAY! YOU'RE THE REASON I HAVE A BABY!!"

She's married. She has a baby.

"Me? How so?"

"Remember Brad ____?
"I think so." I'm picturing a tall, skinny good-looking kid. Smart.

"Well, our relationship started in your class! You gave us the chance to pass notes. We fell in love in your class. You never got angry that we were passing notes. And now we're married, and we have a baby, and it all started in your class!"

Well, of course. Who was I to get in the way of romance?

And to think all these years I had thought it had been such a waste. You just never know.

Copyright, 2007 therapydoc

7 comments:

jeanie said...

Hey - nice to know you made a difference in life!!

I know that you do that every day, but still...

therapydoc said...

Well, Jeanie, some days are better than others.

Brad said...

I can't say I'm opposed to being remembered as tall and good looking.

Lill said...

What a great story. Just goes to show that we never know how our actions are going to affect the future. Or someone else's future. I'm glad you got to find out how the story ended. And get some candy.
Shine On,
Lill

DigitalRich said...

Your post is included in the 11th edition of the Carnival of Storytellers. Thanks for participating!

http://digitalrich.blogspot.com/2007/06/carnival-of-storytellers-11th-edition.html

DigitalRich

Emy L. Nosti said...

Eh, you shouldn't worry about the kids' performance; the student is responsible for their learning in AP. I got a 5 on the psych test, even though since we only had 4 people in the class, they did some TV broadcast via satellite where students from all over the country could call in to the communal teacher (it was as weird as it sounds). That 30 minute broadcast of the 1.5 hr class were probably the least educational, as were her ridonculous projects. I learned almost everything from the textbook, just as was necessary for my other AP classes.
Still, the other AP classes where I had good teachers made it interesting enough where I was excited to learn more--so if your teaching style there was anything like it is on the blog, I'm sure you did a fine job (actually, my most fascinating/favorite prof at UW was primarily a clinician who used a lot of stories about her practice--the other academic-only psych profs were lifeless). Anyway, the AP tests only seem to measure your memory, study skills, and reading comprehension.

therapydoc said...

Thanks Emy, I appreciate it.