When I was in elementary school, my sister did gymnastics with the daughter of a teacher at our school. She was my fifth grade teacher, in fact, and my sister had her the year before. Her name was Mrs. Hardy and she was one of the coolest teachers in the entirety of the school. Despite that, I can’t tell you how awkward I felt, when I had to see her outside of regular school hours at one gymnastics meet or another.
Do you remember how weird it was when you saw your teacher outside of the classroom and in real life? Super strange, right? Teachers aren’t supposed to be real people. They aren’t supposed to be at the grocery store or the mall. They’re supposed to live at school and not have lives of their own outside of that. From a small student’s perspective anyway. Teachers definitely don’t go home and make dinner or have kids of their own and whatnot. They’re just supposed to be these magical entities that only exist on school property and then I suppose vanish at night into the staff room or the gym’s storage room or something. I’m not sure where they go.
My daughter wound up seeing her kindergarten teacher almost weekly throughout the winter at the local hockey rink and had zero qualms about marching up to the poor educator for a chat every time they were in the same building. Bless that teacher’s heart for taking the time out of her “normal” life for her student. (Both my kids had her for kindergarten and she was an exceptional guide through both of their introductory school years and we will miss her.)
Not nearly as bold as his sister, I think my son still views his teacher, bless her heart too, as a mystical being. I think I might too. This is evidenced by the crown and cape she donned for class photos this year (she says she wore the outfit because she’s retiring this year, but I believe it’s just the uniform of the ultimate queen of all primary school teachers).
I don’t want to embarrass her or invade her privacy by naming her but whether she knows it or not, the rumors about her around the schoolyard are true — she’s the very best.
A hit with parents and students alike, one day at school my son’s teacher was talking to us parents at pick-up or drop-off time, I don’t remember which, about an upcoming outdoor field trip and the waffly weather — as we all tend to do these days.
She popped her foot out of her shoe and showed off her freshly painted toenails, adding that her feet were ready for the sunshine and would the summer please arrive and stay for more than an hour or two?
We all laughed, thought nothing of it, and went on our ways.
Later that night the field trip topic came up when my family was around the dinner table talking. The kids were going to the beach and as a kid who loves to dig in the sand, my son was pumped. I mentioned that my son’s teacher was ready for it because she’d had a pedicure.
“Wait,” said my son. “How do you know that?”
“She showed us at school today,” I replied.
“WHAT!?” he said. “You saw her FEET?”
He. Was. Mortified.
By his reaction, you would have thought that I’d just told him the moms had all gathered around her and shone a spotlight on her feet, then got out a big magnifying glass and really examined their size and shape, but alas, it was a pretty standard encounter as far as those things go.
I explained to him that yes, I briefly saw her nicely painted toes from roughly 15 feet away and that’s not all that unusual when somebody says they’ve painted their nails.
“Like her actual feet,” he clarified. “Not in her shoes? No socks?”
“Her actual bare naked feet,” I said. “She painted them red.”
His jaw dropped.
I guess that feeling that teachers are still somehow not real human beings is alive and well in today’s youth.
To that particular teacher: have a fantastic very last day of school today and then have a fantastic and very-well-deserved retirement. Please know you’re going out while still in high demand.
Whoever replaces you has some giant shoes to fill. I know. I’ve seen your feet!