"Uh-pa! Uh-pa!" a little girl cried to her father as I passed her in the park. "Jordan Teacher!" she told him, but he was too far to hear, so she called again, excited to see a teacher in such a strange setting. I smiled to myself as I walked up the hill toward my apartment.
I remember seeing my English teacher in line for popcorn at the AMC 24 once. Of course, I was in high school and did my best to make sure he wouldn't see me. But I think it is funny how, as kids, there is such a dissociation between teachers as teachers and teachers as people. It's almost as if they don't exist once they leave the building. The whole tree-falling-in-a-forest thing.
A couple of years ago, I met a young middle school math teacher. He was an attractive, dark-haired snow boarder with a large diamond earring in one ear. I felt bad for the girls in his classes, really, because the odds of them actually focusing on pre-algebra seemed pretty slim to me. I also felt privileged, in a middle-school sort of way, to know what he did on the weekends, to watch him drink and laugh with his adult friends. Never mind the fact that we spanned the ages of nineteen to twenty-four, hardly more than kids ourselves.
Now a teacher myself, I relish the perception of mystery I wear like a shimmery cloak. To my littlest students, I must be very old, and to my oldest, of an enviable age. Each of them seems fascinated by the prospect of my 'impending' marriage. I suppose it would hardly even be conceivable to their compartmentalized experiences that I go home and eat cereal, that I see movies with my friends, and that I wear strappy gold heels and hang off the shoulders of various men throughout the week. Scandalous, eh? The double life of the English teacher.