Teachers are humans too……
On Monday, my friend and fellow preservice teacher and I went to get see Mockingjay Part 2. We went to a 12:40 showing, and we figured that on a Monday afternoon, the theater probably would not be very crowded. We, however, saw a student from a class that we observed in. They were not ditching school, they were just already on break. We did not really know how to respond, so we just ignored them. We just went on chit chatting and looking at things on our phones until the movie started. This made me realize a few things.
The whole situation made me feel a bit weird. Did I do the right thing? Should I have said hi to the student? How will I handle this situation when i am a teacher? What is the correct way to handle this situation? Its bound to happen, that I will run into a student at the grocery store, a restaurant, or a movie theater. If you acknowledge their presence and say hello, it could be awkward. If you ignore them, then you feel as though you are being impolite by not saying hello to someone you know. Is there a right way to even approach this? I am guilty of ignoring teachers in public, just to avoid awkward confrontation. Conversations in the middle of the grocery store, and you are with you Mom, who has no problem making small talk with one of your teachers, while I awkwardly stand there wishing I could just disappear. Now my teacher knows where I shop and what groceries I buy.
Another thing I noticed is the weird looks you get from seeing students in public. It is as though they believe we never go out in public. I partly blame society, who has projected the idea that teachers sit at home and grade and plan lessons day in and day out. Teachers have a life outside of school. They go to the mall, go out to eat with family, go see movies, etc. It feels weird running into a student who then looks at you like a mutant because you are out in public living life like a normal human being. As a preservice teacher in her 20s, this is complicated by the fact that I am not much older than the students who I observe/teach in my field placement. The Hunger Games series is popular among high school and college students. Being so close in age to your students adds and additional obstacle when it comes to classroom management. Students think, why should we listen to someone who was just in high school themselves a few years ago?
This event, although small, has made me realize that this is one of the things I will face as a teacher, and may face often if I teach in a small town/city. Hopefully, a time will come when it won’t feel weird. What do you do when you run into students in public?