Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Do No Harm

We had our cat at the vet today and were waiting in the exam room when a short knock came at the door. A young woman in scrubs entered, and I knew from experience that this was the vet tech who would do the preliminary questions and exam. She introduced herself as Tatiana, and looking at her face, I knew I knew her. "Did you got to [and here I named my school]?" I asked.

She nodded briefly. "Yes I did."

"Do you remember me? I was your English teacher."

Over the years I have run into many, many former students, and usually they are friendly, or at least seem glad that I remember them. Not so with Tatiana. "Mmm hmm," she said and turned her attention to Heidi, "What seems to be the problem here?"

And that was it. She only spoke to Heidi for the rest of the visit. Afterwards, I thought and thought about what I might have done to get such a reaction from her, but I couldn't remember anything out of the ordinary. I do know that over the years, I've become a much nicer teacher; I've learned that you can have good classroom management and still be kind and empathetic. In fact those qualities help.

So, whatever it was, I'm sorry, Tatiana. I hope I'm a better teacher, now.

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