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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Old School

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I exited the graduation ceremony and made my way into the hallway, a part of the flowing river of bodies making their way from the confines of the UVU gymnasium to wide open spaces of the great outdoors. I’d enjoyed the proceedings, though I will admit that it was strange to see my first class of sixth graders graduating from high school.

I was as lost in thought as I was in that pullulating multitude; the years were flowing far too quickly, and there wasn’t anything I could do to quell them. Like that crowd, the years, too, were sweeping me away.

“Mr. Z!” A voice trumpeted from somewhere in the bustling mob behind me.

I turned and scanned the throng; I at once noticed three of my past students, all now young adults in high school, approaching me.

We edged our way through the crowd to a side wall and began to talk. These three teenagers all hugged me and told me they missed the years spent in a classroom when they were all significantly smaller. Did I still play the guitar? Did I still make students do pushups? Did I still give loads of homework? Did I ever keep anyone later than Randy with catching up on old assignments: 8:30 P.M.?

Each of these ‘kids’ also filled me in on what was happening in their varied lives: they told me about their classes, about their old friends who’d made some poor decisions, and about their future plans.

At one point, a student whom I’ll choose to call “Joey” asked if he could use my phone to find out where his parents had been swept away to. I pulled out my aged cell phone—the phone I’d upgraded nearly five years ago with my wireless plan, and had not done so since.

Something could be felt in the air; worlds were colliding…the old and the new, and I could tell that was now trapped somewhere in the in-betweens.

“Whoa, where’d you get your phone, Mr. Z; An antique store?” Joey asked with a laugh. “Isn’t this the same phone you had when I was in your class?”

My synapses were lightning quick. “Actually,” I responded. “This is the phone Moses used when he bought the Israelites out of the wilderness to the promised land.”

My three past students doubled over with laughter as Joey dialed his parent’s number and found out where they were stationed outside. In another few minutes I excused myself and made ready to leave.

“Catch ya later, Mr. Z!” Joey said as he extended his hand and starting a complex combination of moves, which I remembered all too well back from when I was a teenager…slaps, snaps, and general ‘jiggyness.’

By the time that Joey and I had finished the shake, it was obvious that he was impressed.

“Whoa, Mr. Z. You’re on your way to hip.” He said, nudging one of the other teenagers.

“No,” I responded with a grin. “…you’re old school.”

Image garnered from: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/04/portable_cell_phone_booth.html


Linn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerb said...

You always have a snappy comeback, don't you? How do you do it? ;)

Loved the picture to go with the post.

Mamma has spoken said...

Sometimes old school is the best school :o)

Teachinfourth said...

Linn - Thanks, I'm so glad you navigated your way safely across the web!

Gerb - Sometimes it just comes in a flair of inspiration...or desperation.

Bonnie - You have that right!

hintonrae said...

I'm with Gerb...a little jealous of your snappy comebacks. ;)

Um. Pullulating? I mean, I went to the Scripps Natl. Spelling Bee TWICE and I have never seen that word. I'm super impressed.

And you actually kept some poor kid until 8:30 pm? Hard core!

Teachinfourth said...

He was pretty far behind and I worked it out with his mom beforehand; we figured that if we could get him completely caught up, he would feel an immense sense of accomplishment and would then stay that caught up.

He's never forgotten that day. In fact, it was this boy here.

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