This may come as a surprise to many of you, but people used to actually let me teach their children. That’s right, I had a brief but colorful stint as a kindergarten teacher. It was a complete and utter blast. I loved my students so much and they never failed to make me laugh- kids are hilarious and hilariously honest.
One student in particular sticks out in my mind as being hysterically funny, unintentionally of course. His name was Christopher and he had the cutest blonde bowl cut I’ve ever seen. When we would play basketball at recess, he would sing a song to pump himself up before taking a shot. I think it was from High School Musical. It was so awesome because it didn’t matter whether or not he actually sunk a basket, he would just keep on singing “Get ya head in the game, you gotta gotta get ya head in the game.” while he shifted from foot to foot in a dance-like movement. Needless to say, I let them play basketball as often as they liked because this was such a joy to watch. Christopher kind of lived in his own little world and I quite admired him for that, it didn’t matter that one of his classmates once looked at me and said “That kid is crazy!” Christopher just kept right on living in his dreamworld.
Christopher loved any type of superhero or fantasy hero books and movies and he could frequently be seen throwing his hand down in a spiderman like movement as if he was trying to shoot webs out of his wrist in order to grab whatever it was across the room he wanted. It never worked, but he did it so earnestly, I almost thought he would be able to do it one day. Christopher was also a little possessive. Possessive of his toys, his schoolwork, and even me. When he was paying attention, which wasn’t often, he would get very jealous if I was paying a little extra attention to another student. Unfortunately, this sometimes resulted in Christopher throwing a fit or acting out in another way. Usually, I was able to calm him down quickly and one “I don’t think so” look from me would chill him out. There was one instance though where he was livid at me for letting another student pick out the reading time book. I don’t know what it was about that that set him off, especially since I always let the kids rotate who choose the book and it was the other students turn, but Christopher was not having it that day. He threw such a tantrum I had to put him in the time-out corner. As I walked him over to the time-out chair, he turned around looked me straight in the eyes and screamed “Avada Kedavra!”
For those of you who aren’t Harry Potter nerds like myself, “avada kedavra” is the incantation of the killing curse used in the books. There is no counter-spell to this curse and it instantly kills. So, when Christopher yelled this at me, I was stunned. I’m sure he didn’t realize that I knew all about Harry Potter and had read the books about a million times and he probably thought he had a secret way of expressing his anger. Not so. I knew exactly what he was trying to do. Honest to goodness, of all the things he could have yelled at me, that hurt my feelings the worst. Seriously. I know it sounds ridiculous, but knowing he was so mad at me that he would cast a killing curse right at me without any warning really hurt. Especially because he and I had such a good teacher-student relationship up to that point. For a second, it really felt as if he had cast the curse, that’s how stunned I was.
I regained my sense pretty quickly though and knelt down so he could look at me in the face and see how serious I was. “Christopher.”, I said, “Do you know what that spell means?” “Yes, I do. Voldemort used it on Harry.”, he responded. “Ok, well then you know how very serious and hurtful what you said was.”, I told him. Tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “I’m so sorry! I don’t want you to die!.” Of course, I knew what he said wouldn’t actually kill me, but it seemed like he thought I might fall over dead at any moment and it would be all his fault. I accepted his apology, reassured him that I wasn’t going to die, and went about my day. Such is the life of a teacher, but I honestly will never forget how much those words hurt in that moment. And I will never stop feeling absurd that a fictional curse from Harry Potter hurt my feelings. But it did.
What about you guys? Has something silly ever hurt your feelings?