you remember the movie, never been kissed, how drew barrymore goes back to her high school as an undercover reporter and gets a second chance at learning high school lessons? my experience is nothing like that. however, today i was a substitute teacher at my middle school and worked alongside the same teachers i had studied under ten years ago. this is an incredibly eye opening experience – to see that even teachers swear during their lunch period, are nicer when they don’t have to discipline pre-teen boys, and at the end of the day – they’re rushing to their cars like we always rushed to the buses.
our town's middle school has now seen FOUR lindemann children, i introduced myself to a teacher as part of a town-dynasty at one point during the day. the last of our dynasty will graduate this coming june and the lindemann name will only be a memory to the teachers and staff of the middle school. ”so much has happened since i roamed those halls during my awkward years,” i thought to myself as i walked by the picture of my graduating class: the class of 2000, “it feels like a different lifetime.” i walked by my locker (third from the left in the eighth grade hallway) and a feeling of nostalgia came over me – but not one strong enough to make me feel like I’m thirteen again. no, i’ve since grown up. now i am the one wearing heals that firmly walk the tile floors, with determination in my step and knowledge in my mind. i am the one who can look up the answers in the teachers’ book when i cannot remember how to figure out that math problem (what is the purpose of stem-and-leaf graphs ANYWAY?). and i am the one who tears up a little at the end of reading the pigman because i now know what it feels like to lose someone close. even furthermore, i am the one who no longer takes the comment: “you’re my favorite substitute!” as a compliment – because it means i haven’t disciplined well enough.
though i woke up this morning preparing to teach the future of america, i came out learning more than i expected to. isn’t that what school is all about?