Most of you know I went back to my career in education this fall after 15 months of being a stay-at-home mom. Minus all the bureaucratic and political bullhonk surrounding the profession, I really love teaching. The level of excitement I reach when kids learn something because of me borders on unhealthy, but I live for those "lightbulb moments". Obviously, it wasn't too difficult to make the decision to go back to the classroom.
And, of course, you work with kids, and they are going to say some pretty darn hilarious things.
A few weeks ago, a student (let's call him "JC") asked an innocent question that had me busting a gut.
Our schedule for rotating classes was a little unusual, so our class segments were cut short. We took the opportunity to create flash cards for vocabulary words in animal classification. The end of class was approaching, and several students were already quizzing each other with their cards.
As I walked around to check in on their progress, one boy studied my face and asked, "So you're like 20?"
Yes, this is the question that had me falling apart with laughter. Not just 9 years ago when I started my career, a student had taken me for 50...and I was fresh out of college at a mere 22. Obviously, kids in elementary school have an epic lack of age awareness.
After I regained my composure, I told JC that 20-year-olds aren't legally old enough to teach in the state.
JC wanted to try again, "25?"
"Nope. Keep going."
"There's no way you're in your 30's! You're way too fun to be older than that." (OK, maybe he was sucking up a little bit.)
"Well, I hate to disappoint you, but this fun teacher is definitely in her 30's," I answered seriously. But I couldn't help myself when I jokingly said, "But now you are my favorite student. You think I look younger than I really am."
Not wanting to be beat out by JC, the girl sitting next to him piped up, "Yeah, well, I thought you were 18!"
It's cute when they suck up. Sometimes.
So what I have learned from such conversations with kiddos is that I'm aging backwards. This means by the time I hit 40, I should pass for the neighborhood babysitter, and by 50, I'll be ready for juice boxes and light-up velcro sneakers. Who needs wrinkle cream when you've got students who will unknowingly flatter you with their misconceptions in aging?