I got a bit of a reprimand from one of my students yesterday! He was not only astonished that I was absent Monday and Tuesday, but personally offended that I had abandoned him. He didn’t say it directly, but the implication of our conversation was “don’t do that again”. LOL
It was ironic that our discussion came so shortly after an amusing encounter with another student last Saturday. I was at Walmart when he came around the end an aisle and saw me. The look on his face was one of total amazement! He covered his mouth and started laughing. Then he said, “You’re supposed to be at school!” I replied, “When you’re not at school, I’m not at school.” He turned to his mom for confirmation, but I don’t think he really believed either of us. I can only imagine what he thought when I didn’t show up Monday; probably thought I was still wandering around lost in Walmart!
I’ve had many, many such experiences with children over the years. I’m not sure exactly who they think I am, but I seldom encounter a student, other than a teacher’s child, who really understands at the beginning of the year that I am a “normal” person with an ordinary life. The first time I mention “my husband” you can hear a pin drop. When I talk about my children or they see photos of my grandchildren on my desk it takes them a while to process those ideas and put them into perspective. Then as the year progresses they become more comfortable with Mrs. Maurer’s secret life and it’s okay that I have a house and pets and a truck, and that I shop and cook like their moms.
When you stop and think about it most children have only the vaguest notion of what adults do during the day. Many professions are certainly not “kid friendly” and some children know the name for what their parents do, or the name of the company where they work, but they have never actually been there or seen their parent in action. I know this because we talk in class about occupations and what each child wants to be when they grow up. We talk about money and how parents earn it and spend it. Unless a child has concrete knowledge and experience with a concept they tend to make up their own versions of reality! So your child may base his understanding of your occupation on what he sees on television combined with what his best friend thinks about it! lol Even those children who have fire fighters and doctors and nurses for parents seldom understand the day-to-day routine workings of those professions. They only talk about the exciting aspects portrayed by the media.
So Mrs. Maurer will be back in her classroom where she belongs today. Just last week one of my students asked “How OLD are you Mrs. Maurer?” Who knows what they will want to know today about my other life!