I’m sitting at the Starbucks in Springfield when a young lady comes in and sits at the table right next to mine. Now, there were other tables to sit at, and I’m at the very back of the store (literally up against a wall, hidden from view to the general public). So she sits at the chair closest to mine that is not actually at my table and says, “You’re not a kid you’re an adult!”
Amused, I say, “I’m not a kid?”
“No you’re an adult”
“You’re right I am an adult”
At this point her dad comes around the corner and tells her to leave me alone: “Let her do her work.” He doesn’t say it sternly, lovingly, or with a tone of exasperation. It’s just a simple request. He seems a nice enough guy, taking his girl on a daddy-daughter-date to get a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie at the local caffeination station. So I tell him it’s no big deal and we strike up a conversation. Throughout the conversation this young lady, let’s call her Victoria, tells me all about cats she’s seen on YouTube – apparently there is a plethora of cat videos I have never seen.
After finishing her cookie and telling a few more tales of the Cats of YouTube, she notices the sticker on my computer: Snoopy and Woodstock roasting a marshmallow (and apple) over a campfire.
She quiets down, a fascinating change of events, as she eyes the sticker. “Woah! Look what’s on your computer” she exclaims.
“Oh yeah. Do you know who that is?”
“Um…That’s a dog! That’s a dog! That’s a dog! That’s a dog!”
“Victoria, you’re making me look like a bad dad…”
I smile and tell her that the dog’s name is Snoopy and the bird’s name is Woodstock before asking what they are doing.
“What are they doing with it?”
“Over a campfire! Cooking it!”
“What’s Snoopy got?”
*Giggling* “An apple! He’s cooking an apple!”
I giggle too. “Is he gonna eat it?”
“Yeah and it’s gonna be a hot apple. It’s gonna be all mushy.”
And just like that I was back home. I was back to my happy place, teaching. In the middle, or rather the very back corner of the only Starbucks I have been able to find in Springfield, I got the chance to teach. But that’s not all. What her dad said next is the perfect way to end 2013:
Many thanks for the work you’re going into. I don’t know how you people do it.
Remember, fellow teachers, that when you are frustrated with the low pay, the lack of appreciation, all the people who apparently know how to do your job better than you do, or any of the many frustrating moments you encounter, that there are those out there who appreciate the hard work. There are people who see it, who admire it, and who know they don’t know how to do your job better than you.
Happy New Year, and many thanks.