I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry

Published 10:56 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

To all the teachers of the world — particularly those who had me in their classrooms — I apologize.

I apologize for being a handful. I apologize for every assignment I didn’t finish. I apologize for every time I would not sit down and do the work. I apologize for every hour of detention I’m sure I still owe you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

I still have many fond memories of my school days. My earliest and fondest one goes back to kindergarten and my first teacher, whom I’ll refer to as Ms. M. She was my first girlfriend; I just don’t think she knew it. There was a bit of an age difference, but we made it work. We had a special relationship that lasted two glorious years from kindergarten through first grade.

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She loved playing all our favorite games: “In what small space is Troy hiding in today?” “Oh, who broke this?” and my personal favorite “I’m gonna have to call your mother again.” Boy, she played so hard-to-get, but I knew she had a special bond with her favorite student.

After all, she even wrote a song just for me that she’d serenade me with almost every day. Maybe you’ve heard it. It goes, “A-B-C-D-E-F-G…” I hear it’s pretty famous now. I’m seriously thinking of making that our wedding song, Ms. M.

I am reminded of all this because I have started teaching again. I’m teaching typography at a nearby institution.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the very notion of sculpting young design minds and leading an open exchange of ideas amongst those with interests similar to mine. But I’d have to say that teaching one four-hour class a week is far more exhausting than my entire 40-hour week here at the paper.

The tables have now been turned in those games I used to play with Ms. M. “In what small space is Troy hiding in today?” has been replaced by “Are they ever coming back from their break?” “Oh, who broke this?” is still “Oh, who broke this?” but now it’s thousands of dollars of electronic equipment for me to account for and not a few crayons.

You know, very few students say thank you to their teachers. Even fewer of them apologize for the time they may have wasted in class, whether it’s the teacher’s, their classmates’, or their own. I truly hope that my students will come to offer apologies to those hard-working teachers to whom they’ve given grief. That would make all the headaches of teaching worthwhile for me. And hopefully I can give them a fond memory or two from their education.

As for you, Ms. M., I finally finished that wedding ring I was making for you out of chewing gum wrappers. Call me.