It’s happened to most every student, but the experience still comes as an occasional shock: recognizing a teacher outside of school, living their lives in public. As Janis from the film “Mean Girls” once famously remarked, “It’s like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.”
Junior Will Atkins recalled that he saw former band teacher Eugene Cottrell at B.J.’s, a big box store. He has his own technique for when he sees teachers in public.
“I say hi, but I don’t really engage in a conversation, because I feel like it would just get a little bit more awkward,” Atkins said. “… I just say hi and then continue going on my way, maybe check if they’re down the next aisle so we don’t meet up again—not to be negative—but to avoid another awkward situation.”
Junior Susan McKnight sometimes keeps conversation to a minimum as well. When asked if she greets teachers when she sees them in public, McKnight said “It depends.”
“If I like [the teacher], I’ll probably wave and be like, ‘Hey’,” McKnight said.
She spotted psychology teacher Andrew Sandel at a local dining establishment.
“I was at Bojanges… and I came outside and Mr. Sandel was there,” McKnight said.
“He got into this small Smartcar or something, and he had like four other people in the car with him, like his wife and I think he has kids, but they were all definitely in there, and it was really cramped.”
In that particular situation, she “just kind of ran away” because she had not been in a class with Sandel.
Senior James Emmerling has his own take on seeing teachers outside of their “nine to five” environment.
“One time I saw Coach Parks at Cruizers,” Emmerling said. “And we got out and we just started talking about baseball, you know, average stuff. I feel like there’s not as much pressure; you’re not in the school environment, so you don’t feel like they are [in authority]. You’re just chilling with a teacher.”
School faculty and staff sometimes seem like an enigma to their high school charges. Some students, however, are able to look past this and see teachers in another dimension.
“[Teachers] are just like an everyday, average person, Emmerling said. “They do everything we do.”
– By Adrianne Cleven