I was in a bit of a quandary this morning, sitting on my rolly chair, ensconced behind my teacher desk of smooth, light wood, inherited from a teacher who had two, by cracky, two teacher desks at the time she retired.
My students had gotten to the part of the lesson where I give them work, guided practice, as the methods books call it, worksheets to you and me. Even though I allow this work on class time in case they have questions, most do not utilize my brain. Until today.
A young man around 14 years of age approached me with a question. He stood opposite me, on the other side of the blond desk, pointing at the paper in his hand as he queried. The question concerned the concept of quasars and the red shift of their spectra. Do you ever have the feeling that something is amiss? Nothing specific you can put your finger on, but an inkling that something is different than it should be? Like when a billboard you pass every day without notice gets a new tenant, and it catches your eye? My eye was caught this morning. By an open zipper on this young man's pants.
What to do? I felt like I should tell him, but I could not bring myself to do it. It might have caused embarrassment. The rest of the class would have heard me. They would likely have teased him unmercifully, causing him to withdraw into a shell of his former self, and abandon Newmentia for homeschooling, and become depressed, and while away his adolescence in a juvenile care facility. Or not.
Perhaps he would think me a pervert, as in, "What are you doing looking there, anyway, huh? Is that how teachers are supposed to look at students? I think not, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! I am going to the office to tell them what a giant perv you are, and that kids are not safe around you, and that you should not be in a classroom with us with the door shut."
After a split second of careful analysis, during which I weighed my options, I did nothing. And he returned twice more! Was this my second chance to be a Good Samaritan? My third? Still, I did nothing. Except avert my eyes from the barn interior. Like a male teacher or principal waiting for a female teacher to tell certain young lasses to cover up breastage. Or to put the girls away, as one lunch crony commands. We must be careful in this day and age, careful of perceived improprieties.
I convinced myself that the lad would suffer less trauma if a male student told him to zip up, even if such an interaction included public ridicule. At least that ridicule would come from peers. That's how kids grow up, right? How they learn to hold their own, give and take, interact on different levels. I thought of how my #1 son would have reacted if a teacher told him of a barn door faux pas in front of the class. The word mortified kept popping into my mind. Like when Beaver Cleaver gave Miss Landers a slip for Christmas, because the department store messed up June's order of handkerchiefs and lingerie. So I did nothing.
Nobody else noticed. That I could tell. So I kept it my little secret. I did not even look his way at lunch to see if the problem had been solved.
It never happened. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.