Last week, I had my students bring in a favorite picture of themselves to use for a writing prompt. Being organized and having a great amount of foresight, I brought in my favorite picture from home. No I didn’t. I forgot, and grabbed one off my desk.
It’s a pretty cool picture, though. It’s me and two friends, standing on the edge of a river we had to cross while hiking in Costa Rica. There were sharks and crocodiles in the river, and we had to hold our packs on our head. I keep it on my desk as a reminder- hey, you did stuff like this, you can handle whatever is being thrown at you now. I told my kids about the picture, modeling what I wanted from their writing. I mentioned that the river had crocs and sharks, but I told them that we didn’t actually encounter or even see any.
So when I overheard this exchange, I was surprised.
One of my students was waiting in line for the bus, talking with his friend. As I walked by, I heard him say, “My teacher punched a shark once.” From another line, another of my students piped up. “I don’t think that’s what happened.” The first kid ignored him. “Punched it right in the face”, he said emphatically to his skeptical friend.
I don’t know if he misunderstood me, chose to exaggerate, or if I give off such a strong vibe of awesomeness that he just assumed. (It’s probably not the last one).
It got me thinking- I’ve done some cool stuff in my life. Mostly while travelling. I’ve explored underground tombs and found skeletons. I’ve taken rickety gondolas up the alps. I’ve encountered crazy people on eastern European night trains. I’ve encountered venomous snakes and spiders. I’ve slept under a mosquito net surrounded by all sorts of things that could kill me in a variety of horrible ways. I may not have punched shark, but I’ve done some pretty intense things.
Teaching is harder. It’s scarier. It’s more intense. That’s crazy.