I admit we probably were tacky.

No, I don’t think as a high school student, I was particularly sticky or in any way like an adhesive. I have come to realize that in general teenagers are the exact opposite of polished and sophisticated. That is what my homeroom teacher meant when she said we were tacky. We lacked finesse and polish.

I had the privilege of having Ms. Potter as my eighth grade English teacher. She moved to the high school with us and was my homeroom teacher, I hung out in her room before school and she helped me write essays when I was afraid to ask my own English teacher for help.   Some time in our five years of interaction she got married and became Mrs. Baker but was still the same, no nonsense teacher. But she was fond of referring to all of us as being tacky. I knew it wasn’t good, but I never quite got it until recently.

I have finally quit expecting my tenth, eleventh, and especially my twelfth graders to be polished and sophisticated. They are kids. They are works in progress. They may drive, have jobs, get straight A’s in calculus and tower over me in height, but they are tacky. They often say whatever comes into their heads, having no empathy for me or their other teachers. Because they are kids. But I still need to constantly remind myself, they are kids. Cut them some slack. Give them a break. Very few are purposely mean or hurtful but on occasion any one of them may come across as tacky.

What do I mean? Just last week a retired teacher and his wife stopped by my room to say hello while at the school. “Miss, is that your sister? You look just like her! Really! You do!” She had to be at least 25 years older than me. But through the teen age eyes, we all are just in that old adult category. No use getting mad.

“Miss, did you grade my test?” The one you waited three weeks to make up, spent all of lunch trying to do, handing it to me less than an hour ago as I started teaching? Oh wait, you just asked a question. No reason to rant. A simple, “No,” is much better than the indignant rant playing in my brain. You don’t know my minute by minute plan any more than I know yours. It was just a simple question. Same thing with the email sent after ten o’clock at night, the make-up work buried in the stack and every teacher’s all time favorite, “Did we do anything while I was out?”

So take a deep breath, be the example you want them to become, and give a short and polite answer with a smile, each and every time you are asked the same tacky question. No matter how much they look like adults, they still are kids.

October 1

Happy October.  Of course in Florida, it barely registers as fall, yet.  The weathermen happily note that the high is only 89 instead of in the 90’s, but for the rest of us, we really don’t feel any change.

We have been back to school for over a month now.  The routine has set in.  Unfortunately that routine consists of constantly being tired and swamped with paperwork and pulled in too many directions at once.  I realized this as I walked to a meeting yesterday to find a locked door.  The walk wasn’t that far, but as I gazed through the window into the dark classroom I was upset.  This of course quickly passed.  Eventually my weary, end of the school day brain realized that they weren’t hiding from me.  This wasn’t personal, just a mistake.  I trudged back to my classroom and checked my email.  Probably the only email I deleted this week was the one giving date and time.  So I sent out an email saying sorry I missed you.  The meeting moved, and I wasn’t cc’d which is just fine.  I didn’t need to be there, and I was quite able to find work to fill my time and they were quite able to function without me.  But it was Wednesday afternoon, therefore I must have a meeting.

As all true teachers know, you not only teach, but to survive you have a second job.  Some of us hope this is only for a season, but I fear this is my lot in life.  You see, I do mind eating Raman at age 48.  So, I tutor.  I left today to tutor and realized I had a missed text.  “Is it too late to cancel, he has an activity after school?”  “No problem,” I texted back.  Freedom.  So I bought an iced coffee and went and bought a pretty yellow mum.  Even if it doesn’t feel like autumn, my entryway can look like fall.  And the red, white, and blue planter bought on sale after July 4, 2014 (yes really!) is looking a little scraggly.  So I have a friendly yellow plant to greet me and I used part of the time to “rake” the leaves off of the porch.  Of course, these are just the dead leaves that have accumulated for months from the neighbors’ oak tree, and I swept,  I didn’t actually rake, and I did need to recuperate in the AC when done, but never-the-less, it was a lovely fall day.

Happy October 1, y’all!