The Pony and I did business with The Devil today. We wanted to get a jump on the weekend. While there, I ran into a couple of students.
You'd think people would be civil, wouldn't you? Perhaps nod. Smile. Make small talk. That's certainly what I expected. I have a pleasant relationship with this student. She is courteous and polite. Jokes around. Is always in a good mood. Greets me in the hall. We've never had a kerfluffle, in the three years that I have been acquainted with her.
I saw her go down the main aisle as I was harvesting two loaves of bread from the shelf. "Hey, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!" I smiled and waved. Went on about my business of stuffing The Devil's coffers. And we met up again on the produce aisle. I had just dug a sack of onions out from under the beat-up ones. Here she came along the baby carrots. I backed my cart up so she could thread her way past a beeper-cart lady squeezing potatoes. Thought I was doing a good deed. Being polite.
"Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, we're not at school now." She breezed past, her accomplice in tow, giving me the eye.
"No. We're not. Neither am I, you know." I just had to point that out. Because what is it with these kids? They see a teacher out in public, and act like they are grinding the axe for the entire body of students who have ever studented since Socrates refined his method. What was that supposed to mean? We're not at school now. Was she going to flip me the bird? Give me a noogie? Slap me with a pair of gloves and challenge me to a duel? As if I could do NOTHING do defend myself? I don't get it.
That's the problem. Teachers get no respect. In the mind of the student, we are fair game. Punching bags. Stripped of our power when out in public. Objects of derision. We are not people. We are a subclass of humans. Teachers. I've heard several students over the years talk about wishing they could see Mr. So-And-So out in public. Heavens to Betsy! Those boys were going to SWEAR at him! Or flip him off! Or holler out his first name! They'd show HIM who was boss. Like that would make Mr. So-And-So swoon from fear. They don't understand that they are not a perpetual part of our universe. That we don't go around obsessing about ways to exact revenge on them. Okay. Bad example. But seriously. Out in public, they are simply other members of society. Speak if you know them. Or ignore them. All we ask for is the same treatment.
The Pony said she was just joking. It didn't sound like that. I've heard her joking many a time. Tomorrow, in class, I might sidle up to her and say, "Hey. We're at school now."