A Comment I’m Uncertain How to Take

“You know what I just realized, Waterhouse?”

“What?”  Second period, Speech, just ended, and I am tidying up my room before heading out the door for hall duty.  This student, a senior in my Speech class, is also my TA for 3rd period.  He helps me push the chairs back into a circle for the next class.

“I just realized that you’re my teacher.”

I give him my “That’s weird/I’m skeptical” look.  He gets this look a lot.  It’s part of why I like him.

“I know!” he says.  “But I just haven’t ever really thought of you as my teacher before.”

This kid has done Speech for two years, the musical for three, and he’s taken all of my classes multiple times (not because of failing – he’s a smart kid with good grades; our school allows repeats of electives).  I’ve had him every semester since his freshman year, which is why this comment strikes me as odd.

“What do you think has been happening the last three years?”  I ask.  “Haven’t I been teaching you?”

“Yeah!” he says with enthusiasm.  “But, I don’t know, it just didn’t feel like you’re my teacher.  But then today you were up there and I was like, ‘Whoa.  You’re a teacher.'”

“What did you think I was?”

“I don’t know.  Like a friend.  Someone who talks about cool stuff.”

“Is this something you’ve experienced with your other teachers?”  I head down the corridor towards the hall to monitor the passing period.

“Nope,” he says cheerfully, tagging alongside me.  “Just you!”

“Huh,” I say as he dashes away to greet a group of friends.  “Okay then.”

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