Never Make Eye Contact

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Being a teacher has been my career for as long as I can remember. I have never lived in the same community where I taught. So, it is pretty cool when I see my students out in the community.

Of course they act shy, like they don’t know who I am. It’s never really awkward unless I run into them with their family in the liquor store.

This summer I finally made myself a priority. I scheduled all of the appointments that I had canceled during the school year. Sick days are precious. I have to same them for Harrison and Sydney.  I have been using my time to workout, and make appointments. How exciting right?

When I enter the waiting room. I sign in and find a quiet spot to sit. This is relaxing for me and of course I have my journal with me. It never fails if I am at an appointment for myself or for my kiddos. That children can smell that a teacher entered the waiting room.

Don’t laugh. I think teachers give off a vibe when we enter a room. During the summer it may be the calm and relaxed look on our faces. Or the fact that we smile knowing that we can use the bathroom whenever we want to without waiting for a break.
For that reason, you must never make eye contact. Once you make eye contact you will flip into teacher mode, trust me.

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I was waiting for an appointment and began writing in my journal. When a little girl starts dancing next to me saying “Negro is black in Spanish.” I must admit I didn’t  know where this was going. But I wasn’t in the mood to give a Black History lesson in July.  My journaling continued.  Out of the corner of my eye she was moving in, closer and closer.

My teacher brain was thinking she was probably a first grader. It must have been my bright orange pen that attracted her to me. Because I made eye contact and had a new BFF. She sat next to me and began to read my shirt. I glanced down to make sure I wasn’t wearing my conquering hell in high heels shirt. Her mother was on the phone and I tried making  eye contact with her to make sure she knew her child was talking with me. But I never caught her attention.

My new friend asked for a piece of paper and my orange pen. Teachers, I don’t know about you. But I do not give up my pens easily. I gave her some paper and a mechanical pencil. Next, she wrote her name for me and began to write a story. I found myself telling her to start her sentence with a capital letter. She started laughing and said my teacher tells me that all of the time.

Some of her letters were reversed. She was a phonetic speller. She was proud of her work and showed me her paper after each word. Her mother looked up and told her to leave me alone. And then it happened. The little girl asked me how to spell summer. That’s when teacher mode really kicked in. I prompted her to say the word again and listen for the sounds. She started to write down the sounds she heard. And then we broke down the word into smaller chunks and she spelled summer.

I didn’t realize that her mother was not on the phone anymore. Her mom came over and asked me if I was a teacher and what grade I taught. Before I had a chance to share my credentials with her. The door opened and I heard “Copher, Brooke Copher”. The mother thanked me for helping her daughter. The little girl gave me a hug before I left the room.

That’s the part of being a teacher that is awesome. When you do your job for all children that you come in contact with in your life. Children in your classroom, and children that you meet in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Five more weeks of my summer vacation left. But who is counting?

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