The Cloak of Invincibility
It’s funny. I feel as though I wear a cloak of invincibility whenever I conduct business with any individual who once had the misfortune of being imprisoned in one of my classrooms. Why should this be, I often wonder?
What is it about this student/teacher relationship, that makes me feel as though I will always be in good hands, when I encounter former students? Is it just me? Am I imagining that I will always be treated right? Am I simply delusional? One (or more) too many bong rips?
I have conducted commerce with former students, I have been treated by them in the medical field, sought legal advice from them, have employed them, been waited on by them and been universally respected by them. I may not have seen any given individual for twenty years, but once the connection is reestablished, the framework falls into place.
That cloak of invincibility.
[Editor’s aside: If I encountered this word, invincibility, at any point when I was teaching, my knee-jerk reaction would have been to halt the presses. Stop everything! How often do you find a word in the English language with five vowels (six if you include “y”, which is frequently interchanged with “i”) all of them the same? Can you find another one? For 100 spots? On your own time? Ok, I’m done.]
Questions that might arise with unknown personalities, do not exist when I am interacting with former students. Uncertainty is vastly reduced because I always expect that my best interest, as it were, will be looked after.
I don’t expect preferential treatment because I never extended it to any individual. I have simply come to expect that any transaction that I conduct with former hostages of my classroom, will result in my complete satisfaction.
If I had taught in a major metropolitan area, in the same age bracket, the odds of my encountering former students would be infinitely reduced. Instead, as I meander through Laytonville or Ukiah, or conduct business locally, I can’t help but run into those who once had to wait for my signal, before they could bust loose out of their fifty-minute prison sentence, and out to freedom.
Make Wise Choices
Or what about that individual who made a poor choice somewhere along the line, as rarely as that occurs at the eighth grade level, and earned a referral? Wouldn’t there be resentment and/or bitterness when we met again? Maybe there was a suspension involved?
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Kind of like your worst nightmare? My language arts teacher? As in, “fml?”
Instead, I have that cloak of invincibility.
Mine was the impersonal business of ensuring that the learning environment remain intact. I chose to emphasize personal choice as being the determining factor for the issuing of a referral, thereby helping to direct any sense of regret on the part of the student, back on him or herself.
I was-and remain-a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Social settings are challenging for me; rarely do I attend non-baseball related events. Even then, I use my camera as a security blanket to limit the time I will have to actually function as an adult.
I use social media’s inner wall to conduct much business, because it provides for me, that same sense of personal contact that I once had. As in, I have your undivided attention, even if I have to wait 24 hours after I posted a question or a request, to get it. Time is not a factor.
This bond supersedes politics, age, religion, and socio-economic differences. It is unspoken, unbreakable and quite precious to me. Who would have thought that what is often perceived as a thankless profession, should garner such rewards?
In past discussions, I have always maintained that it was as simple as two things: I like people and I unconditionally extend basic respect to anyone I encounter, until such time as that person demonstrates he or she is not deserving of my respect.
Rare is the pupil who does not respond to respect from an adult, with a greater portion in return. Weird how that works, but I attribute that principle to the confidence I inevitably feel, whenever I have cause to conduct business with former students. The same bond of trust that existed back in the day, has carried over.
It’s like being paid interest on a bank account that I didn’t know I had. I keep reaping the benefits from a job I held many years ago and I like the way it makes me feel, that warm and fuzzy feeling.
At my age it’s nice to know that warm and fuzzy can still apply to something other than my brain.
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