Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Proffie, My Friend.

I don't understand it,
the need of my students
to be "friendly" with me.

I understand their silliness,
their endless questions
about material covered endlessly.

But then they cluster around
at the end of classes, follow me
into the cafeteria,
force me to eat my bear claw
with them standing watch over me.

I don't think I'm approachable.
I don't believe I welcome it.
My head is down during bear claw time;
there is no other way to do it.
I don't accept their invites to
mixers, football games, or lunch with their parents.
Not once.

I don't give off the "I need a pal" vibe
that seems a tragic flaw in some of my colleagues.
(Oh, I've always though Kalamazoo Katie
was just down my hallway...)

But in the past years
I have been proffie and friend
to my students.

Oh, I suppose there was
a momentary rise in my esteem
when I realized I was a favored one,
a beloved one.

But I was younger then,
and as I now have a wife and 7 friends,
and we are all 50+, I truly
don't need a dozen 19 year old people
in my life,
telling me about their boyfriends, their sisters,
about Bruno Mars and his soulful music,
their trouble with a roommate, a swollen patch of skin,
a desire to be blonder, faster, leaner, more attractive to the frat slugs.

I want them to gasp when I arrive in class,
react respectfully when I talk,
burst open in applause when I burp,
and then run away from me at the end of class.

There is a lovely quad to walk,
and I've always loved to do it alone.

And there is, of course,
the bear claw.


  1. I think it's generational. Is it possible that middle and high school teachers are seen more as friends now than in the past, so modern students expect that same kind of relationship.

    I have to admit, I hate how some male students insist on calling me "Coach" all the time.

  2. Modern college students come out of a self-esteem-friendly school system. Their teachers have ALWAYS told them how wonderful they are, and that sort of feedback can lead to a "warmer" relationship between individuals than a more professional and cooler dynamic in my time, and perhaps Tingle's time - based on his avatar!

    I like my students, genuinely, but I'm never a pal.

  3. Aw, the kids just like you despite your standoffishness. That probably means you are good teacher, so maybe you should be glad!

  4. Prof Rich? Your most recent poems have included muffins and bear claws...I think I love you!!!

  5. You're just being a big meany. I've said this before somewhere on here, but I think it deserves to be said video.

  6. Weird, I don't get the clustering, though I think I'm fun and approachable. Maybe I should adopt the standoffish approach.

  7. I try to be approachable, and my classroom empties faster than ball bearings through a trombone. I, too, will go standoffish in the future.


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