Noahvose: Nea'ese

Noahvose

Noahvose
Location
Wisconsin, USA
Birthday
February 21
Title
History Teacher
Bio
A Great Plains guy living in the Great Northwoods and feeling Claustrophobic.-- Masters in Anthropology (I thought we could use some Indians digging up white people).-- I have an amazing wife and two beautiful boys.-- I teach high school history and at an Alternative School for at-risk youth.-- ...and I have a serious Jelly Belly problem

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Salon.com
JULY 8, 2009 3:52PM

I'm Never Going to Hear the End of This

Rate: 14 Flag
  Pizza Party

After running all over school on errands, I returned to my class to find a student I didn't know waiting for me by my desk with a note. She smiled and said, “I have an invitation for you.” It was a formal invitation to a free pizza lunch on the following day, Friday. The name on the front was Amber, a student in my AP U.S. class. I’m always honored by these invites. The previous week, I had been asked to come to one of my “at-risk” student’s baseball games for a teacher recognition ceremony. He had given me a baseball, on which he had written the reasons I was his favorite teacher. Now, I was getting a free lunch tomorrow. I made a mental note to thank my student the following day, but I lost that mental note.  So, I made another mental note to thank her at the lunch later.

            Then, I almost forgot the free lunch. This is the kind of week I was having and is pretty much how fried I am at the end of each year. I got to the guidance office just as they were unloading the pizzas, along with boxes of ice cream sandwhiches for dessert. The guidance counselor smiled.

“Are you here for the pizza?”

"Yeah. Amber invited me."

“Oh...OK...good. Well, eat as much as you can. We have plenty.”

            These events are always uncomfortable for me. I’m not used to eating with my students, and I’m never sure how to relate to them in more familiar, relaxed settings. Does this make me a stuffy teacher? Anyway, this time I was even more uncomfortable because I didn’t know ANY of the other students. To make matters worse, none of the other teachers showed up…nor did my student who invited me. So, there I was with a table full of strange students and one guidance counselor. I nervously made small talk and then escalated into humor, which I usually do when I’m uneasy.

"Are those ice cream sandwhiches?"

"Yeah," the counselor replied.

"Are they, by chance, mint chocolate chip?"

"I don't think so." She looks. "Nope, just vanilla"

"When I was little, my mom once found mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwhiches. They were, like, the best thing I'd ever had. Then, when she went back they didn't have them anymore. I've looked every place I've lived, but haven't been able to find any. Seriously, where did they go?"

Then, one little girl sheepishly says, "They have them just over at Walmart."

"Oh..."

This was just desperate. If there had been three objects in front of me, I probably would have started juggling for attention…pathetic. How quickly could I choke this food down and get out of there? I could tell the guidance counselor felt sorry for me, because she kept saying she was surprised and sorry that Amber didn’t show up. I replied, “That’s OK, that just means more for us.”

            I ate more than my fill, said it was really nice meeting everyone, and headed back to my room. Later, I was headed down the hall to get a student out of class when I spotted Amber through a door talking to a teacher. I surmised she must be a teacher’s aide that period, because there were no other students in the room. So, I strolled in and said with the deadpan face my students are used to, “You know, Amber, when you invite a teacher to a pizza party, it’s usually a good idea for you to show up, too.” She looked at me somewhat confused and said, “Pizza party?…Well, I wish I had known about it.” I laughed it off awkwardly, just thinking that my joke had fallen short, and said it was no big deal. I rounded the corner into the hall and then……

 

OOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhh SSSSSSShhhhhhhhiiiiiiiittttttttt!!!!!

 

            Now, if you figured out before this what I had done, you are much quicker than I am (and please keep in mind my end-of-the-year friedness).

 

            If you haven’t yet figured out what I had done, good…I don’t feel so bad. Let me spell it out. The original invitation the student handed me WAS NOT FOR ME. It was, in fact, for the student whose name appeared on the front cover. I kept going over that student’s words in my head, “I have an invitation for you…I have an invitation FOR YOU,” hoping that would give me an “out”…a way to save face. Wishful thinking.

Now, it all made sense as I retraced the events in slow motion:  the guidance counselor’s surprised look when I came, the fact that no other teachers showed up, the fact that THE STUDENT THAT INVITED ME DIDN’T SHOW UP. God, I’m an idiot. After running my errand, I raced back to the guidance office only to find Amber had beaten me there and was trying to figure out with all three counselors what had happened. I walked in with that same deadpan face and said, “I think I stole your lunch.” Oh, I tried to play it off with some lame humor. "Well, in this tough economy, I'll take anything" and "this is a great racket, keep sending me those invitations." But I knew full well as I left and could still hear their laughter halfway down the hall...

 

I’m never going to hear the end of this.

 


This story was inspired by MaryTKelly's brave telling of her IPhone incident. Thanks Mary.

 

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It's moments like those that bring our feet back to the ground. I've had such moments with patients outside the hospital milieu. rAted!
Oh Noah - now I'm LOL - is there anyone who hasn't done something like this? And you're right. You'll never hear the end of it. Thanks for my best laugh all day!
That was a great story - I felt your pain by the end! Love the uncomfortable ice cream sandwich conversation. If you want some practice having casual conversation with students, try hanging out at a camp for awhile, sometimes it gets way too casual and they end up telling you a little more than you want to know! Did Amber ever get a slice of pizza? And mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches...on my way to Walmart right now....mmmmm.
cute. glad you provided some much needed entertainment for them. great story.
Thanks for coming by everyone.

Mr. Mustard - Care to share any of those stories? Don't leave me hanging.

Owl - It's been a while. Glad I could give you a good laugh at my expense.

mamoore - Thanks for reminding me. Yes, Amber received a free meal certificate from me to Burger King. I felt terrible, but on the other hand, I couldn't stop laughing about it for a week.

dolores - If I laugh too, then they're laughing with me right? That provides a little comfort. Thanks for stopping by.
Listen, I am glad to see someone else has trouble. I have decided that if I ever develop Alzheimer's, no one will be able to tell the difference for years.
Noah, you did a great job at telling this story and I laughed throughout. I hate those embarrassing times like when you think someone is waving at you so you wave back and smile and realize they're waving at someone else. It sounds like you handled this well, with good humor, which is always the best diffuser. As for feeling awkward with the students, this surprises me. They are just human beings who want to be seen and acknowledged like the rest of us...it really is that simple and what I've sensed from you is that you are a person with great integrity and love for what you do. Thanks for the mention of me...so glad I could lead the way with a story of humility and complete and total embarrassment!
Delia - Thanks. It seems I lose more and more of those mental notes with every passing year.

maryt - I'm not sure what you'd categorize me. Whenever my wife has me take those tests to tell whether I'm an introvert or extrovert, I score somewhere in between. The truth seems to be that I'm uncomfortable in new situations, but I'm extroverted enough to fake it well...usually with humor. As soon as I'm confident in my surroundings and in my class, I'm must more relaxed. I guess it's the same feeling we used to have when suddenly we ran into one of our teachers outside of school and it was a little weird. I still can't get my 4-year-old to believe his JK teacher has children of her own. I'm pretty sure he thinks she lives in the class.
Great self-effacing story. I bet that your students really enjoy you as you seem very student-centered in your stories. I look forward to more.
Wonderful. I can see that you are a very popular teacher. The kids need to have an adult around in school who is not perfect.
You qualify!
grif - Well, I sure give them something to laugh at sometimes. I think that's my curse in life, but also my blessing. It reminds me to never take myself too seriously and makes it impossible for me to, anyway.

o'steph - Boy...do I. Thanks.
Oh my god! How more embarrassing could that get?! I am still chuckling while I comment. Great post,
Rated.
I am reminded that these moments just happen. This made me smile. Thank you for posting.
O’Steph commented: “The kids need to have an adult around in school who is not perfect. You qualify!” HAAAAA Steph, super funny comment which almost made me laugh as much as the post.

This was great Noahvose, I still remember your horrified look and your trepidation in telling me this story after school that day…I have never seen you so embarrassed, ever!! I am so glad you wrote this, it was so funny with uncomfortably real dialogue.

I must comment, however, that as a bystander I've never seen you appear uncomfortable around the students. I applaud you for being honest enough to admit that you sometimes feel awkward anyway – join the club… thanks!
too funny lol :) It's like an extended "cute-girl-not-waving-at-you-waveback" priceless

peece!
dj
Don't feel too bad, I had one of those moments here on OS when a poster replied right beneath my comment and proceeded to tell me witty and wonderful I was. Appreciating his good sense, I PMed my thanks, and poor-mouthed that I wasn't THAT wonderful. I got NO response to my PM, which I thot was not only odd but rude. So I went back to the post and discovered that the Thomas who received that praise was someone other than this Tom.

Sometimes there's no hole deep enough to crawl into to hide your embarassment.
Marcella - I know. This kept me laughing for a week. I'd just think about what I had done and start chuckling. Then, of course, I had to explain to someone what I was laughing at and relive the whole embarrassment.

Scupper - If it made you smile, then it was worth it. Thanks

Y Heron - Thanks in sharing in all of these moments with me and not letting them color how you see me too much. You're always great to come home to and share with. And thanks for always laughing at me just a little harder than anyone else. I need it.

Jimenace - Great analogy. That's exactly how it feels, except like I did it in front of all my colleagues. Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to catching up with all of your posts since my vacation.

Tom - Oh man...great story. Thanks for not leaving me blowing in the wind by myself. That sounds exactly like something I'd stumble into. As far as that cave, I'm still looking for it. Thanks.
Oh Geez, this is priceless. It is so easy to make a fool of oneself at school, innit? I haven't done anything quite this elaborate, but...while student teaching...15 years ago...My god, how can it be that long?!...I stood on a chair in front of the class to write some notes on the black board...however...I happened to be wearing a standard, pencil skirt...not a tight one, just sorta fitted, and part of a suit...(I was trying hard not to look student like...I am short and baby faced!)...anyway...as I stepped up on the chair...the little "kick pleat" slit up the pack decided to take a trip northward...and it rrrrrriped right up my backside. Luckily I WAS wearing that old standby...a slip! But that damn thing decided to rip nearly 6 extra inches!

I calmly descended the chair, took off my suit jacket and tied it around my waist facing away from the kids...but they were ROLLING with laughter!!

Another time, a few years later...I was finishing a lovely lecture about sub-Saharan Africa in World Geography...and went to sit down at my desk after handing out the discussion sheets...only to perch too closely to the edge of the rolling desk chair...and plummet...ass and legs flying up in the air..onto the floor!

Yep...teaching is a sheer delight...I am so glad to have been an occasional slapstick comedian in class...NOT!
Yekdeli - That's a good way to look at it. We're just presented with way too many chances at public humiliation for us not to hit the jackpot once in a while. I just hope this was my biggest payout on that machine. Anything more than that and I risk losing my entire persona...however, not knowing exactly what that is, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing.
There is no such thing as a free lunch...Unless, of course you invite yourself to someone else's...Some how I get the feeling that the embarassment will give you greater credibilty amongst the students....Some will "graduate" and take the memory with them....The returning students will appreciate the teacher who was willing to join them even without an invitation.....


Keep trying...
LOL! Hey, you were trying to be a good sport. No harm, no foul. (And I bet the counselor thinks you're really dedicated!) I do understand the embarrassment, though. Self-deprecation is an excellent teaching tool! Thanks for sharing this and doing your part.