They happen in everyone's life. You say something that you thought you were only thinking, you make some kind of inappropriate gesture, or maybe you are just no good at all at social cues. Whatever it is that gives way to your awkward life moments we all realize that they happen, we move on, and we fall into the same situation (and do the exact same things) at least two more times before we learn from it.
Not I though. I learned from this awkward moment the very first time.
Let me set the stage.
I'm subbing in a school I have never been in before. The teaching staff I notice right away is a little odd. I can't quite tell what it is... they just seem weird.
But I'm there for the morning and a weird staff is not the end of the world.
So I get to my classroom (it's kindergarten), read the plan for the morning, and get ready to greet my class.
The class is lovely. Just a bunch of rosy cheeked five year olds ready to learn.
It's obviously calendar time which goes as smoothly as calendar time normally does and then it turns into story time.
"No problem" I think. I pre picked my book and we are ready to go. I confidentially show the students the book I picked to which one bright eyed keener in the front row makes an announcement
"Why aren't you wearing the book skirt?" He asks.
"Why aren't I wearing a book skirt?" I think to myself... "Why would I be wearing one?"
The kid is already on his feet showing me a skirt which is more of a long bottom half of an apron (so basically a skirt that ties in the back). He is telling me that I'm to wear it so that they can find the book.
I'm still perplexed. I found the book. It is right here.
Then the kids explain to me that their regular teacher normally puts on the skirt, hides a book in one of the pockets in the skirt (there are about 10 sewn randomly throughout it) and then picks a student to find the hidden book in one of the pockets.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa" I think to myself. I just don't feel comfortable with tiny hands going through my pockets (or big or medium sized hands for that matter). We only just met... usually you at least have to buy me dinner first.
I'm making up so many excuses as to why I can't wear the skirt "it won't fit, I'm allergic to skirts, I wouldn't want to take this thing away from your teacher... she is probably just so good at it I could never do it as well as her". My head is spinning and before I know it the kids have coerced me into the skirt and we have hidden the book in one of the pockets.
Then before I even know what is happening one of the kids is checking each of the pockets in search of the book.
It was weird. My personal space definitely got invaded that morning. Who teaches innocent five year olds to go through a strangers pockets?
The good news is perhaps that I learned my lesson. I never (EVER) went back to that classroom or that school again.
And perhaps a little tip...
FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING DO NOT TEACH YOUR STUDENTS TO GO THROUGH OTHERS POCKETS!