(Most of) The Kids Are All Right
Most of the time I really like the fact that I teach at the school where kids in my neighborhood attend. I live in a fairly large city, but it seems more like Mayberry most of the time. I walk 2 short blocks to church- also the girls' school. There, I see some of my own students and their families. Many of my students work at the grocery store closest to my house. Yep, they get to see me in my Saturday attire- hair in ponytail, no makeup, warmup pants, sweatshirt- bathing is optional. They get to see what I buy- which here in Iowa could mean a 12 pack Leinie Lodge, since we can actually purchase alcohol at the grocery store. I tend to shy away from buying "embarrassing" merchandise when I know there is a good chance I'll see my students. It's as much for me as it is for them- do they really want to ring up my feminine hygiene products, dandruff shampoo, de-louser? (ok, I made that last one up, but, you never know) The answer is, they do not.
Today I was at the store, which I hate doing on the weekend, by the way, but am usually too damn tired to do after school. I saw my usual crew of students, some of them current, some former, some just know me because their friends have me. They are so sweet- chatting me up, "have a nice day, Mrs. T", "Did you go to our game, Mrs. T?", "My homecoming date ditched me, can you believe it??". And then, it all comes crashing to a bitter end when I see Mr. Ick- a boy I had in class a couple of years ago who was like poison in the well. He was the proverbial turd in the punchbowl- he infected an entire class of otherwise decent kids. Oh, he wasn't the only roadblock, but he was definitely the worst. He was one of those where I tried everything- appealing to him, finding out what makes him tick, joking with him, ignoring him, being overly strict with him, sending him to the Dean's office, getting in good with his cronies- NOTHING worked with this kid. The kicker was that he was smart. He just was too cool for school and way, way, way too cool for my lil' ol' Spanish 1 class. I would get a tight, clutching feeling in my stomach every day before class, just knowing I'd have to deal with him. He did do me the favor of getting himself suspended a couple of times and the atmosphere in our class was sooo much better.
And today, I saw him at MY grocery store! I avoided him, but I won't be able to forever. I'd like to say that I was a better person than this, but I'm not. I hold a grudge. I can generally fake it and smile and nod, but there are a handful of kids who have driven me way too close to the edge and for those few, I find it really hard to be nice to them when I see them. I don't like this about myself, but 'tis true.
Does anyone else have this? Or am I an insufferable witch who needs to suck it up and just be nice to the little buggers?