by Frances Peacock
This morning on the news I saw the President of the United States bend down, pick up a stick, and toss it to his dog.
And I greatly admired that man for that move.
He made it look so easy, as if anyone could pull it off, but I know better. Had I been in the President’s shoes, that stick would have stayed on the White House lawn, and that pup would have been out of luck.
I’m a teacher, and teachers don’t bend.
We don’t have to bend. Our students pick everything up for us. Whenever I drop a piece of chalk, lose my grip on the lunch envelope, or let my reading glasses slip through my fingers, the result is always the same: A child will come to my aid.
He’ll leap from his seat, take the object off the floor, and place it in my hand. I’ll say, “Thanks a bunch honey,” or something like that, and then we resume our lesson.
This has been going on in classrooms for as long as anyone can remember. It probably began a hundred and fifty years ago, in a one-room schoolhouse someplace. The school master dropped his hickory switch on the dirt floor, and some kid wearing overalls hopped up and grabbed it for him. It’s a custom that continues to this day.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I don’t deserve such special treatment. I’m a teacher, not a queen, and I really should retrieve my own stuff. But who am I to defy tradition?
The trouble is, at this stage of the game, I don’t know if I could pick things up if I tried. It happens to every teacher sooner or later. If you teach long enough, you forget how to bend.
Maybe this is why some of the older teachers don’t retire. They won’t have any students to do their stooping for them, and they don’t know how they’ll survive.
I think this is a bigger problem than all of us realize. Did you ever go to the supermarket, and see groceries lying on the floor? How do you think they got there? Just today, I saw three cans of green beans rolling around at Kroger.
I bet a teacher had been there. The cans fell off the shelf, and she didn’t know what to do. She looked around for a child to help her. Finding no one, she got in her car and went home. Poor thing. She had no choice. She’d forgotten how to bend.
Next time you’re at the store, and you see a can on the floor, do a teacher a favor, will you? Grab it and put it back for her. Somewhere out in the parking lot, a lady will be grateful.
Thanks a bunch, honey.