I am intimidating, unapproachable even. Or so I have been told. People that take the chance to actually get to know me learn quickly that my pensive stare and sometimes overly boisterous rants are just but two of my many lovable quirks. There might be many reasons why you might not like me at first. But given the chance, I am a fiercely loving and caring person who apparently doesn’t always give the warm fuzzies.
My opinions are strong, but are not random or arbitrary. The look I am giving is usually not directed at anyone in particular but rather just the outward face of a deep thought. Although, if I’m being honest, there are times where I have to physically pull the corner of my lip back down from where it ascended while witnessing or listening to some pretty questionable things. I have no problem with bringing attention to issues at a staff meeting, but always have possible solutions at the ready. I would like to say that I am actively involved in some noteworthy cause and am a “change the world” type person. But I am not. But I do take the opportunity to change my little bit of it very seriously. My ability to open a kid’s eyes to their own possibilities? That I take seriously. So when comments are made that are nonsensical or sometimes even asinine, I can’t silently sit there.
I taught upstairs with the smelly, hormonal 4th grade big kids. Downstairs housed the little bitty, runny-nosers. I get a kick out of seeing the classes of little kids with the pretend bubbles in their mouths trying so hard to be quiet in the hallways. They are adorable, when someone else is tasked with controlling them. But being trapped in a room with them sounds terrifying. I like them older, independent, and mouthy. Those older kids get me. They recognize my love for them in the way that I can reprimand without ever saying a word. They appreciate my sarcasm. Never belittling or rude but always witty. They knew not to mess with me. But they also knew that short of their family, no one loved them more.
It was that time of year when administration starts making decisions to move teachers around and a runny-noser herder of six year olds was being moved upstairs to wrangle the hormonally challenged. I was later told by this brave soul that the only thing she was thinking was “don’t move me to the grade level with that loud mouth know it all”. She meant me! She had been dropped, unwillingly, into my life. I began sharing all my resources with her and suggesting ways to teach the content and handle the hormones. The kids’, not ours. She took a chance, overlooked my flaws, and allowed herself to see the real me. She is the big sister I never had and her impact in my life has been enormous. And the best part is she had to admit she was wrong. And I’m not ashamed to say I get a very satisfied, smug face going when she has to say what a fabulous person I am and how much she loves me…
The moral to this story is two-fold. First, take chances on people. First impressions are somewhere to start but its sort of like the rough draft of a paper or one of many prototypes of a new invention. The initial version might not be the best one. Secondly, work on controlling the “what the **** face”. I’ve learned that some people might find it off-putting. Whatever. Put your big girl panties on.