Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Guess I Surprise People.....

After taking a few minutes to share in the wonderful lunch that our administration set out for us in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I was heading to my classroom to get my things, when a familiar face stopped me in the halls.
"You went to Newberg High School, right?", she said.
"Yep. That's right......Oh, that's why you look familiar! You were a teacher there." I said.
She gave me a bit of an up-down look, then said, "Wow! It looks like you've done pretty well for yourself!"
I responded with an enthusiastic "Thanks!" while really thinking, "Hmmm. What is she trying to say?"
"Being a TA is an amazing job, isn't it?" she asked.
I had to think about this for a second. Apparently, she had the wrong impression and I needed to find a way to let her know without making the conversation uncomfortable.
"Yes, being a TA is a wonderful job. I loved it when I was one at Chehalem Valley a few years back, but I really love being a teacher. It's so rewarding!", was the response that I came up with.
"Oh my! YOU are a teacher here?!"
I tried really hard not to take this personally. I told myself that she responded in this way because she thought I look too young to be a teacher. Or because based on her observations of me in high school, she thought I would go into another field. Certainly, she was not surprised because of my grades in high school. I worked very hard while there and earned a high GPA. My ability to work with kids couldn't be the issue either. I spent 3 years of high school working in the Life Skills classroom with disabled children, and volunteered at two local elementary schools.
So why then, was she so surprised to see me at a middle school as a 6th grade teacher?
The short answer is, I don't know. She told me that she was extremely proud of me for making it "this far". To which I said, "Thank you." With what I'm sure was a confused look on my face, I walked out to my car. It wasn't until I was halfway home, that I realized how many people have had that reaction to me and just about anything that I accomplish.
Why is it that people have such specific and strong ideas about who I am and what I am capable of? I have wanted to be a teacher since I was very young. I spent my days lining up my stuffed animals and reading to them. Being a teacher has almost (there were a few years, after Free Willy, where I wanted to be a dolphin trainer) never been a question for me. Yet no one seems to "see" me in this role.
Maybe it's because I tend to be quiet and I'm short. Believe me, both of these qualities come in very handy when dealing with the middle school population. I don't know why people react to me the way that they do. But I'm going to learn to take it as a compliment and be happy that I seem to exceed most people's expectations of me.


  1. See...? This is why I don't, respectfully, agree with your Blog Title "Abnormal Mommy"... We are as normal as we can be... actually, I think we are blessed being the way we are (bald)... Why? Because we are NATURAL, UNIQUE women... it is that simple!

    We have nothing to hide, we are happy with the way we are, and look... This society base looks as a factor to be successful and we are here to prove them wrong. If that lady kept you thinking, you can imagine the impact you made on her... She might be wondering "Why is she so happy, secure, and has such an amazing aura and being bald, while I'm stuck with my insecurities but have hair........."

    Yes, be happy, and yourself, nobody has the right to make you feel inferior, unless you give them permission... (I got that from a quote from Roosevelt).

    Wishing you all the best!

  2. I agree with you in every way! I'm proud of who I am and being bald is part of the package (a part I wouldn't change for the world!). I picked the word "abnormal" to kind of own it in a positive way. The fact that in some people's eyes I'm different, makes me feel special and proud!

    Thank you for your words of encouragement! I didn't think about her insecurities and the impact of our conversation on her. It's so nice to hear what others think about the situations I find myself in!