The Cool Teacher

“Dang Mrs. Stoffa! Nice shoes! I haven’t EVER seen a teacher wear Jordans to school before!”

It’s always entertaining when the students I work with discover elements of my actual personality, not just my professional teacher identity. Today was casual Friday and I chose to wear a pair of sneakers with my outfit instead of sensible sandals or flats like most teachers wear to school. My middle schoolers were super impressed and I got compliments on my shoes all day. It was hilarious, because I was just wearing what I usually wear in real life. I also got to explain the difference between sneakers and tennis shoes to a bunch of preppy, Lily Pulitzer loving southern girls. It was wild.

Being a young substitute is pretty weird. A good chunk of the teachers at school are constantly telling me that I look like a student despite the fact that I’m 25. At the same time the students think that I’m still in college and have their minds blown every time I tell them I already graduated college and have a teaching license (we’ve been over this a minimum of 3 times for each grade). For some reason they can’t grasp the fact that I’m apparently much older than I appear.

Finding out the things that we have in common is always fun, though. They freak out when I talk about sending snaps or posting things to my Instagram. They always ask for my twitter handle which I NEVER give out (hello, privacy is great) but it’s really funny to see their faces when I tell them how long I’ve had my different accounts. They’re also surprised that these apps have been out for that many years. I think I know how adults from my childhood felt when I asked them what the encyclopedia sets were at their houses when you could just use google haha.

Living with a foot in two worlds is pretty tricky. If I let the kids know all the things we have in common I lose some credibility, but if I don’t share any of those things then they don’t listen to me at all. I usually end up on the side of overly transparent just because it’s fun to bond with them over shared interests and see if I’m still cool. Turns out 10 years isn’t that big of a gap. Until a 7th grader mentions they rented She’s the Man for the first time last night and thought it was funny and you age yourself by telling them it came out when you were a freshman. These things happen frequently, but then we bond over the fact that they want my Bruno Mars tickets this summer and I’m back haha

There are lots of things we have in common that surprise the kids, but nothing more than the fact that I’m a closeted sneakerhead as a teacher. I even taught a 6th grader what Eastbay.com was. It was super hilarious. Shout out to the little bro for that one. What really kills me is that I can’t really wear any of my favorite shoes to work on a regular basis because they aren’t professional enough. It’s a rough life, but I really enjoy Fridays when I can let my real personality shine. Maybe someday I’ll grow out of it, but until then I’ll just keep looking more like a kid than a teacher when I’m at school. I’ve accepted my fate.

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