Life as an Extreme Sport

one of THOSE teachers

For some reason the last week has been a week of talking about teaching; I’ve been telling lots of random stories. About my fabulous Eye + Mind kids and their projects, the hell and heaven of 390s, my own class, and of the personae I step into whenever I teach. It’s so similar to improv, that it’s a very comfortable role for me to step into – and it lets me do things that startle the students. Talking to Laurie reminded me of one of those startling things.

I lost a bet, back when I was teaching. And as a result, I ended up wearing pajamas to school one day. One day while I had to teach. So I wore my blue plaid flannel pants, a blue long-sleeved top with an Eeyore applique, matching Eeyore applique slippers, and socks. I wore my grey bathrobe as coat, and figured I would go the whole nine yards, and did my hair in high pigtails.

To say my students were stunned that I upheld my end of the bargain is an understatement. They literally were shocked speechless. But I did it, taught and went to my own classes, and stayed in those PJs all day (lounging around the office after was a lot of fun). And you know, the rest of the quarter, I didn’t have a single problem with any of my kidsstudentsYes, I refer to my students as my kids, even when they’re older than me. I’m trying to break the habit, and be a little more formal about it, but to be honest, kids is a much more affectionate term of endearment, and even when they drove me up the walls, I held a lot of affection for all of them.

I think there’s a lesson in there, somewhere, about not taking yourself seriously, and about treating your students both with respect and humour. But it might simply be a story about me doing just about anything, if dared. I’ll leave it for you to decide.


  1. Jannah – damn straight I wore PJs to class! (Yes, a year later, almost, I’m catching up on random comments in my blog. Been one of those years.) I lost that bet, fair and square, and to go back on the terms would have been to lose the respect that I had earned in the classroom.

    For better or worse, I take achieving the respect of my students very seriously. If they can’t trust me to hold to my word for something so silly as a joke/bet like that, why in the world would they trust me with their thoughts in journals, or believe I have their best interests at heart when I tear their papers to pieces?

    …some time, I’ll have to tell the teaching lesson with Facebook story, and rolling with the utterly unintentional example of just what I was warning them about re: caution in what’s placed online!

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