Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dear Police Officer

Thank you. You pulled me over for speeding. It was the cherry on top of my "suck it up, cupcake" kind of day. I worked late. Not by a little. By a lot. I sat through a 3 and half hour staff meeting. I had been disrespected, figuratively walked on, openly lied to, etc. It was just one of those days.

And then, when I was finally on my way home, I saw the flashing lights. My heart sank. My head hurt. And this was completely my fault. I couldn't blame the people who disrespected me. I couldn't blame the rudeness of others that was directed at me earlier that day. I couldn't blame the lies I had been told. I certainly couldn't blame you. You were just doing your job. It was me. I was the driver. I was the one who broke the speed limit. I was the one behind the wheel with my foot on the gas. All me.

You came up to my window and asked for my license and insurance. I might have been berating myself in my head, but I knew better than to be mad at you. You had probably had a worse day than me. You catch people at their worst. All day long. God bless you. As I thought about that I tried to be respectful and to give you a smile. You could probably use a break, too, after all.

And then it happened. You told me to slow down. You gave me a warning. You didn't ticket me. You gave me the break I had been praying for all day. You forgave me for what I had done wrong, where I had not forgiven those who had wronged me earlier that day. And then? You pulled out in traffic and let me pull out in front of you so I didn't have to wait for the next 15 minutes for a break in the line of cars.

It might seem like something small, but to me it was big. You were the answer to a prayer. You were actually the highlight of my day (at least until I got home and could spend time with my family, it is super hard to compete with that). No, really.

This happened several days ago. I still think of you with a smile. Not a smirk. Not a smug, "I got away with it" attitude. I think of you with gratitude. You don't know me personally and will probably never read this, but this is my chance to say thanks. Thank you, for making my day better.

You're awesome.



Things Teachers Hate to Hear

There are certain things that ever teacher hates to hear. We can't usually respond how we would like to, because blatant sarcasm to a student is usually frowned upon by the administration. Everybody probably already knows the usual suspects for this list, but this is a cathartic exercise for me so I'm going through them anyway.

"I was absent yesterday, did I miss anything?" No, of course not. You know the entire world revolves around your specific presence. Without you here, I couldn't have class at all. We just had to stare at your empty chair and miss you.

"Can I go to Mr./Mrs. _______________'s room? I need to finish an assignment for her." Sure, my class doesn't matter at all. And there is no way your presences in a class she is trying to teach to a group of students to whom you do not belong will disrupt her lesson plan at all. The counselor assigned your schedule all willy nilly and there is no reason for that to actually serve as a list of where you are supposed to be and when.

"Are we doing anything in here today?" Nope. I thought we would just sit around and stare at each other and see if just being in the same room as my lesson plans would help you to learn anything.

"Should we be writing this down?" Nope, I am going over it solely for my own benefit. I need to review the information, after all, even though I already have a college degree in this.

"Is this going to be on the test?" Don't be silly. I thought we would spend an entire class day talking about it just for kicks and giggles.

"How many points is each question worth?" Study the material I give you and it won't matter because you will get all of them right.

"How many questions will be on the test?" 2,568.

"That doesn't even make sense. That's stupid." Of course it doesn't make sense yet. I haven't explained it to you. Give me a friggin' second. And just because YOU don't understand something doesn't mean it is stupid. Whether or not YOU are is still yet to be seen.

"Are you mad?" No, but if you continue to ask me that I will be.

"How do you do x?" I explain and then two seconds later, "How do you do x?" Is there an echo? I could have sworn I just heard that question and already answered it. But no worries, there is no need to listen to what I have to say. I'm just like the teacher voice from Charlie Brown to you anyway.

"Do we have to turn this in?" No, I thought I would randomly assign a grade for you. I don't need to know whether or not you did it, or if you got any of them correct.

"Do we have to sit in our assigned seats?" No. I just assigned you a specific seat for completely arbitrary reasons. No need to stay in them beyond a day.

"You have the crazy eyes right now." There is no response for this really, except for me to admit that if they keep it up, it won't just be my eyes that are crazy.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. And not every student is guilty of asking these questions. Some students are so spectacular about behaving properly and not asking these questions that teachers want to give their parents gifts of thanks and praise. For the kids that do ask these questions, though, (and the ones who do are usually guilty of asking them repeatedly), you are shaving years off of your teacher's life. Every time you ask one of these questions and your teacher takes a deep breath, smiles and responds in calm manner that is not laced with sarcasm, the restraint that took just shaved several hours off of his/her life span.

Having said all this, I would like to say that I love my job. I enjoy what I do. And I have only laughed in their faces for asking any one of these questions once. Okay, maybe twice. Three times, MAX.....I'll try to stop.