There should be a course for spouses of teachers to teach us what life is like when coupled to an educator. It is quite odd at times. The biggest oddity, in my book, occurred just this past weekend. My wife and I, at thirty years of age, went to homecoming.
When I was in high school I went to my Freshman year homecoming dance. It was quite pleasant if memory serves, but that was half a lifetime ago. I didn’t go to another school dance until Senior prom. Just not my thing. At the time if I wasn’t able to hear Thursday I thought the experience to be utter garbage. I am coming to terms with who I was during my teenage years, really.
Suffice to say it was odd to be standing in a high school as a chaperon of all things. My wife and I were to stand in a corner of the darkened room and be adults. We were there to make sure the children didn’t do anything dumb. And boy howdy are teenagers capable of doing dumb things. But they sure as heck wouldn’t do it around the adults in the corner making snarky remarks about the music.
I have never felt so old. We laughed at the kids and the intense awkwardness of their evening. We laughed at the boys trying to make sense of their ties (it will never make sense, guys, never). The music could have been worse, but the DJ was killin’ it. I did notice that ‘dancing’ has changed ever so slightly since my high school days. I went to school when pop-punk was inescapable, dancing meant jumping as high as you could over and over and over again. A whole generation of knee replacements is coming. These kids more bounced and swayed during pop hits and then broke into synchronous line dances for country and hip-hop songs alike.
I don’t know when every song got its own dance. I was a DJ for years and ‘boot scoot and boogie’ was about as exotic a dance could get. This weekend I saw kids ‘nay nay’ and said to myself, “what the fudge is happening?” I used to know music. Now I know thirty different renditions of the alphabet song and various ways to sing the days of the week. Parenting is weird.
I was not at this dance to be a chaperon or an authority figure at all. I was there to keep my wife company and I am pretty sure to take part an experiment she was running without my knowledge. After the dance she said I was there in a sort of zoo exhibit manner. As she said that I felt old and used, so while the evening was not quite as emotional damaging as high school it came pretty close. Apparently teacher spouses are quite a curiosity. One boy tried to start a conversation with me, but I could not hear a thing so he went about his business. He and his date later taught my wife and I how to dance and I was reassured that kids are friggin’ cute. They were so happy with themselves.
If there was a course for teachers’ spouses, I am pretty sure three weeks of material would have to cover attending school activities. Another two weeks on working through homework grading at 9:00 at night, more classes for parent-teacher conference nights, brewing strong coffee…
Long story short, if you know a teacher give them a hug and a thanks. My job ends at 5:00. My wife’s does not.