Before I became a teacher, my Mum used to joke about a teacher friend of hers that would hide down aisles in the supermarket when she spotted a student out and about. I used to find it a little ridiculous, surely it can’t be that bad? Then I became a teacher and I realised the awkwardness that comes with bumping into a student during non-work hours…
- The Keen Parent: There is the student that pretends to have not seen you. “Great!” you think, as you also pretend to have not seen them and quickly move yourself out of their vicinity. Unfortunately, said student is usually with a parent who has seen you. “Oh hello Mrs Roversi!” you hear whilst you’re trying to find a pair of non-see-through Primark leggings (Do these even exist?) This prompts a stunted conversation with someone you barely know whom feels like they know you, and to top it off they discuss the behaviours of little Jamie* whilst said child squirms and hides behind his parent. *Names have been changed to protect identities.
- The Keen Child: The one that jumps out from behind some shelves whilst you’re looking at tampons and exclaims “Hello Mrs Roversi! How are you? Aw is this your baby? He’s cute!” Now I don’t mean to sound mean, and out of all the students to bump into the keen one is probably the best, but jumping out at me and not giving me chance to prepare myself is not appreciated! This one usually engages in several conversations and also asks you if they had any homework. I’ve usually spent the entire conversation trying to remember his name, never mind which group he’s in and whether I’ve set him homework.
- The Shocked One: This child is hilarious. They have no concept of teachers having a life outside of school so when they see you in Sainsburys (other supermarkets are available) with a bottle of wine/cider/baileys, pack of nappies and a large bar of chocolate in hand, they look at you like they observing animals in the wild. Utter awe and shock on their face. This one is usually quite amusing and I will make a point of saying Hi 🙂
- The Naughty One: The least enjoyable experience. I’m wandering around the local shopping centre, feeding my toddler babybel, crisps, fruits pouches and anything else that will keep him quiet when I see a child who is “challenging” in my lessons. Once they see me, the experience usually consists of whispering “Look, it’s Mrs Roversi!” followed by lots of giggling or my name being shouted loudly, followed by more giggling and running away. Great.
- The Naughty One with Parent: I’m wandering around the local shopping centre, feeding my toddler babybel, crisps, fruits pouches and anything else that will keep him quiet when I see a child who is “challenging” in my lesson. We lock eyes. There is fear, from both of us no doubt! Then he/she cowers, trying to steer his/her parent in another direction and I realise – ha! – she/he’s scared of what I might say. Obviously, at this point, I make said child squirm by wandering over in their direction. I might even take the packet of Pom Bears off my son to make him kick off a little to draw attention to us. If this is successful I engage in conversation with parent, smiling sweetly whilst looking at the child, fear in their eyes, knowing I have just got one over on them. Mmmwwwaaahhaha! Note: this has never happened. I’m not that mean.
In addition to these five, there are many times when I’ve been going about my daily business to be smiled at by a supposed stranger. How nice, you may think, however nine times out of ten it is a parent and I know it’s a parent as a vaguely recognise them, but I can’t place them with a child! They only have several teachers to remember whereas I have a lot of students and a rubbish memory since baby brain took hold! I always feel so bad if they start chatting to me and I don’t know which student is there beloved son/daughter. I’m getting quite good at covering up that I don’t know though! 🙂
I must end on a positive note though, it’s the Easter holidays and when I ventured to the local shopping centre on Bank Holiday Monday with my university friend, child free i might add, I did bump into several students who didn’t fit any of the categories above…in fact, they were the lovely ones: I knew their names, year and we had a lovely chat about extra curricular stuff they are currently involved in that I’m running. Just as my mate handed me a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, despite my supposed diet!
Are you a teacher? Do you have stories of bumping into students in strange places? I’ve never seen one on vacation as yet….thank god! How do you control a class when one of them has seen you, wobbly bits galore, in a swimsuit?! Comment below or find me on Facebook or Twitter!