Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Born, Not Made

Which one is the high wire artist?

Boy#3 is in his last few weeks of student teaching, and to be honest, he's ready to be done. He loved the weeks he spent with the high school and middle school bands, but the past few weeks in the early elementary classrooms? Not so much. (I believe his exact comment was "If I never have to sing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' again it will be too soon.")

This reminded me again that teachers truly are born, not made, and that they're born with affinity for certain age groups. My sister and brother-in-law were born to guide junior high students as they traverse the white-water rapids between elementary and high schools. The Boys were fortunate enough to have a kindergarten teacher (the same for all four) whose reaction to the frenzied chaos of the parent-hosted Christmas party was "I'm glad it's only one day a year, but look at the fun they're having." (That was in direct contract to my fortunately-repressed instinct which involved shouting words not normally allowed in the MomQueenBee household.)

My best friend from high school was a teacher perfect for first graders but I hadn't realized this until relatively recently.

The four of us who get together every year were sitting around working on a craft project when C. mentioned that one of her favorite things her students is the wide-eyed ability of that age group to accept the wonders of the world.

"Yeah," she said, "this year I had my class convinced I grew up in the circus. I told them my dad was the ringmaster and my mother was a trapeze artist, and I was learning how to walk the high wire when I decided I'd rather be a teacher."

We were slack-jawed in amazement. We knew C.'s father and mother and although they were dear people and exemplary parents, he taught math in the high school and she was a housewife, not exactly denizens of the Big Top society. Then we started to laugh.

And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

I'm not sure why this seemed to funny to us, but it still makes me laugh--the thought of my algebra teacher in red coat and top hat, "LADEEEEEZ AN' GEEEEN-TLEMEN! PLEASE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION...." Or maybe we were reacting to the thought of the goggle-eyed first graders suddenly seeing their teacher in a completely different light. She wasn't just someone who was teaching them letters and numbers, she was a STAR. A star who had chosen to spend her twinkle on them.

That's why I loved seeing the picture of C. tagged on Facebook yesterday. She was hugging a couple of kids I didn't know, and the picture obviously was taken several years ago.

"This is Mrs. T., our first grade teacher. And now we're graduating from high school," the poster had written.

I had to respond.

"Did you know Mrs. T. grew up in the circus?"

"No! But I know she was the best teacher I ever had."

And I smiled again.

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