Teachers can age quickly.
Let’s face it, teaching is a tough profession, and physically, it ages most of us very rapidly (those of us who stay with the profession may look old but we’re young at heart!). Yes, there are those teachers who appear to have the sweet bloom of youth but that’s because they just recently got into teaching right out of college (time will take it’s toll!). Review the lyrics to Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police or Hot for Teacher by Van Halen – sometimes the teachers are indeed young and attractive (i.e. hot). But for most of us, once we pass 25 or 30 years old, we are considered by our students to be older than their grandparents. And even though they may love us and respect us, it doesn’t help that children are such poor judges of age, along with being brutally honest. Witness what happened to cute, classy, crazy Ms. Curtis (not her real name – but read more about Ms. Curtis in my novella What Happened to David).
One afternoon, as Ms. Curtis surveyed her class, she noticed Tommy reading a copy of MUSCLE & FITNESS, a magazine popular with body builders and athletes. Tommy was finished with his assigned work, and since reading for pleasure has always been actively encouraged, he was doing the right thing. Ms. Curtis wanted to acknowledge his good behavior so she said, “Hey Tommy, I see you’re reading MUSCLE & FITNESS. You must have gotten that from Mr. D’s room.”
“Why do you say that?” he asked.
“Mr. D. has a subscription. He keeps old copies in his classroom so his students can learn more about health and fitness,” she said.
Then Tommy asked, “Is Mr. D. interested in body building?”
Ms. Curtis tried to clarify, “He’s not so much interested in competitive body building. He is more interested in exercise, nutrition and the things that promote good health. You know, as we get older, those things become more and more important.”
“Mr. D. is old, huh?” Tommy asked.
“He’s a year older than I am,” confessed Ms. Curtis.
Then Tommy blurted out, “Wow! I DIDN’T THINK HE WAS THAT OLD!”