I have a theory about teachers. They are either tired of the system and want to make a change (and save at least one child ala Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds). Or they’re tired of the system and don’t give a damn about anything but summer vacation. And to attain Michelle Pfeiffer’s hot 90s bob.
The keyword here is “tired.” It’s not so much a feeling of exhaustion, but a state of mind and a certain vibe. You’ll feel it if you ever go on a date with a typical teacher. As he goes on and on about teaching, Coolio’s “Gangtas Paradise” will begin (“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death!”) Your teacher friend will wave his hands in frustration and tighten his jaw as he recounts his terrible school day because, like Coolio, he is over it. Though in Coolio’s case, he’s just over.
I get it; I was a teacher once. After work, I chugged Cuba Libre’s at local bars and ranted about the lack of resources in schools and my bratty students. I complained about teaching when out to lunch with other teachers, even though we promised not to talk about teaching. When you are a teacher, you eat and breath the system. Bad parenting, disrespectful students, quality reviews and observations: it affects teachers inside and outside the classroom.
Knowing all of this, I still gave a teacher a chance. On Valentine’s Day no less. Not all educators are created equal, I thought. And I really wanted to risk it all for (potential) love on the day of love. When he suggested going on our first date (an online date) on Cupid’s day, he was surprised that I agreed. I figured it could be the start of a great love story, or just a great bad story to tell.
I told him to pick a place in Chelsea where we could have dinner and drinks. He chose the Flatiron Lounge, a place reminiscent of a bygone period, serving historical cocktails like The Classic Gimlet and the Moscow Mule. But no dinner. He took me to a place where they don’t even serve appetizers.
To top it off, he looked nothing like his HowAboutWe photos. I walked in and was greeted by a bald man with soccer mom jeans and a whistle attached to them. I wanted to run out of the bar. I wanted to sing, “Tell me why are we so blind to see that the ones we hurt are you and me!” Cause you lied to me, teacher!
But I stayed. Though the bar patrons stared in bewilderment (how did that guy get that girl?), I made the best of it. I listened for hours as he talked about teaching. I held in a scoff and tried not to roll my eyes when he told me he was also a writer. And pulled up a poem on his iPhone for me to read while he went to pee. I really tried not to laugh when he asked if I liked his ode to the education system. Yes, his poem was about teaching. With eyes glazed over, I replied, “You know, I’m really not trying to read a poem on a date.”
He was shocked. Didn’t I care about the students? Wasn’t I the Michelle Pfeiffer to his Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver? No. I am not. And I was tired. Tired of his complaints and his yapping. Like one if not many of the students in his gym class (that totally explained the mom jeans), he wouldn’t shut the fuck up. And so I was tired. Tired of his mouth and his bald head and his terrible idea of a date. I was starving and cranky and wanted to yell, “You better watch how you’re talking and where you’re walking!” Not even Michelle Pfeiffer could save him.