Thursday, February 23, 2012

If You Want to Find Out What the Public Really Thinks About Teachers, Find a Nice Long Line

Sometimes it's easy to forget that we live in, or near, one of the truly great and amazing world cities. Recesses are, for me, a time to get out and explore some of the awesomeness that New York City has to offer. The downside, however, is that this often means standing in very long lines.

Apparently a book has been written suggesting that French children are spectacularly well-mannered, well-behaved and forbearing. All I can say is that perhaps the Francophone mother and child in this particular queue behind me were actually Quebecois or something, because this delightful pair seemed not to believe in the notion of personal space. I lost count of how many times they knocked into me after the twentieth (I am not kidding) without so much as an excusez-moi.

The (American!) woman in front of me in this line noticed and started to speak with me sympathetically. As finally approached the front of the line, she said, "Gosh, we're almost there. You don't seem to be bothered by the wait at all. You're so patient, you must be a teacher!"

She was kidding, but I laughed and said, "Actually, yes, I am a teacher."

"Oh, good for you! What do you teach?"

I told her, and we engaged in a nice conversation about schools. Her grandchildren are in a suburban district where flat test scores have made their principal, as she put it, "a little crazy." "Good teachers are so important," she commented. "You don't want to drive the good ones out of a school by making their jobs miserable."

So it's important, when you have the chance, to get out into this great city and stand in a very long line. There are people on our side out there. Even if you have to get knocked around a few times by European tourists who will probably have the nerve, when they go home, to complain about how rude Americans are.
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