Current/Recent Reading List

29 August 2006

Lover's Lane

There are matters we become expert in through our own experiences, and there are those we become expert in through observation and study. On the subject of high school dating, I’ll have to go with “Observation and Study” for 200, Alex.

The first few days after a long school break are truly “walk-on-eggshells” time when it comes to inquiring about a student’s social life. Sure, if you build a good relationship with them, they tend to overlook a faux paus from a well meaning, if dorky, adult. Still, no one likes to be the one asking a question that embarrasses an already overly emotional teenlet. So, I’ve learned that following summer break, stealth is the key until I find just the right opportunity to deftly scout out some gossipy goodness, hit the target, and withdraw. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry had nothing on me.

Today I made a couple of forays. I am pleased to report that one of the sweetest, smartest, and best girls I’ve taught actually laughed out loud when I asked if she was still dating so and so (uh… whatshisname, is how I think I put it). “Hah! That loser!?” she said. Check – she deserves better. I also inquired through secondary sources about another very good girl and Mr. Romeo, who are apparently Splitsville. These two were dating while in my freshmen honors class last year, and I felt like telling them to get a shower each day after witnessing the dewy goo-goo eyes they were exchanging across the room. Of course, this was after Mr. Romeo dumped another student in the class (prompting her to cry in the middle of a grammar lesson, and - because she needed to talk but wouldn’t leave the room - prompting a counseling session with me in front of an audience of 25). Check. Although, poor Mr. Romeo – who’s going to do his English homework for him now?

There is one tough nut that I don’t want to crack yet, however. It doesn’t involve a break-up, but instead, perhaps, a ramping-up. An absolute favorite, someone who nominated me to the Natl. Honor Society as her most influential teacher, started dating a guy last spring who, while he’s not a criminal, is a bit of an arrogant loud mouth. Well, she has yet to say hello to me this year, even though she has walked by my room a couple of times. I noticed today that she’s never more than a foot away from him when they are in the same vicinity, and that instead of hanging with her friends during lunch break, she was hanging with him and his dubious crowd. So what’s up? Is he the controlling type? Has she abandoned her wonderful feisty, independent streak? Are her friends peeved with her? Is she too in love and distracted by her dip-wad boyfriend to even say hello to a favorite teacher as she walks right by? Not sure, but I’ll get a couple of my best people on it.

This does remind me that my considerable observational skills are sometimes not so considerable. Regarding this same student, let me recall a conversation while on morning duty last spring. All names are fictitious:

Male Bonding Teacher Buddy: So, is Laura going out with Jess now?

Me (confidently): Nah. She’s been dating that guy from North Duplod for about a year now. I just met him at the Brain Game competition a few weeks ago. Nice kid.

Male Bonding Teacher Buddy (looking in opposite direction from me): Are you sure about that?

Me (monumentally confident): Yeah, she loves that guy. She’s just friends with Jess.

Male Bonding Teacher Buddy: Well, if my girlfriend acted like that with her friends, I might be a little concerned.

(Camera pans to group of students directly behind me and moves to close-up of Laura and Jess holding hands, noses pressed together, sickeningly happy)

Me: Ooookaaaay. You know, maybe I need to double-check my facts on that one.

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