Monday, March 19, 2012

Teacher's Pet

We've all known them. We've all hated on them.

Teacher's pets.

Those sniveling kids that have all the answers, know all the random facts, have the teacher's address memorized. (hopefully not...) Those kids that just THRIVE off the attention and approval of the teacher.

I'm not one of those kids. Never have been, never will be. I'll do my best in class, but I don't really care what the professor thinks of me as a human being, one way or the other. I typically sit towards the back and keep to myself, seldom answering questions, never asking them, and just trying to mind my own business.

For some reason, some teachers choose me. I'm not sure why, maybe they see some hidden potential in me, maybe they see me as a younger version of themselves, heck, maybe they do it just because they know I hate the attention. But sometimes, inadvertently, I am the teacher's pet.

This is the case for my Monday night class this semester.
Before I had any real contact with her, she would stare into my eyes during lecture. Not just a casual glance sort of look, I mean really looking into and searching the depths of my soul sort of a look. She reminds me a bit of myself if ever I get older like her. Brown hair, grey eyes, sort of quirky and quiet, quietly analyzing type of a person. Things escalated on the level of teacher's pet when she finally spoke to me directly outside of class. It all started back a few weeks, when I wore a Totoro shirt to class. The prof gently grabbed my arm, stared at my shirt for a second or so, and asked me "You like Totoro?" Completely shocked that she would even have half an idea what or who Totoro even was, I managed a "yes... You know it?" to which she launched off into a long story about her ex husband, and how he had worked for an animation company, and how they had both loved and adored everything Miyazaki has ever done. Even more shocked, I then told her about my recent experience of seeing some Miyazaki movies on the big-screen, to which she expressed both approval and jealousy. I politely invited her to the final showing of "Castle in the Sky" that would be showing at the end of the month and took my seat.
Ever since then, she's asked me my opinions during class, always compliments me on my work, writes really nice things on my papers, etc. She still smiles at me and looks into my soul while teaching, too.

Well, tonight, things got real out of hand. At the beginning of class, she came up to me and asked if I was alright. Apparently i looked kind of... rough around the edges or something. I told her I hadn't gotten much sleep over the weekend, hadn't been feeling well so i hadn't eaten in a long time, etc. She expressed her sympathy, then began class. In class, she assigned us an exercise to write a poem. Most of my classmates were terrified and complaining at the prospect of having to write a poem. Obviously, as you may have figured out by now, I don't really mind writing all that much. So i set about writing a short poem. I finished far before the rest of the class. The prof was going around, silently reading everyone's poems... She read mine, and gave me high praises on it. I thanked her quietly, getting kind of red in the face for the recognition. Meanwhile, a few of the girls across from me were talking about their poems and how clever they were, etc. They were very pleased with themselves, to say the least. Well, the prof went over there and read over their poems, too. Just gave them a simple "very nice" without really meaning it. Well, horror of horrors, we finish the activity and she utters the most terrifying of phrases... "Who would like to read their poem to the class?" Silence. Not even the oh-so-confident teacher's pet wannabes volunteered. Then, the teacher said something even scarier than she had said before. "Well, I really loved Kristin's poem. It was one of, if not, my favorites that i read. It really speaks to me. Kristin, will you please read your poem to the class?" Everyone turned and stared at me... Hesitantly, I said I would. I read the poem to the class, feeling my face become redder and redder. I finished the poem, and the professor stood up and applauded me. The class hesitantly followed. I could feel the hatred of those girls burning through their eyes... Without even trying, I had become both the teacher's pet AND made enemies of half of my classmates. I sunk down into my chair and tried to appear uninterested in both the accolades of my professor and the hateful whispers and glares from my classmates.

Time went on, my cheeks faded back to a normal color again, i tried to forget about the poetry incident. At 8:45pm, the prof made an announcement. "It has come to my attention that some of you have been working very hard on your annotated bibliographies, and a few of you are outright exhausted. So I'm letting you all leave an hour early tonight." As she said all this, she was looking at me the entire time. Again i felt my malnourished, zombie-state face reddening. The class looked around, mildly confused but ecstatic at the prospect of leaving early.  We all turned in our poems that we had written, and left. I thanked my professor for letting us out early, and she smiled and said "you go get some rest now. Take care!" and i went on my way.

I never asked for this. I never tried for it. But it's happening. And if we can get out of class early because of it, I think I can manage, and hopefully my classmates won't judge so harshly. :)

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