An Open Letter to the Teachers I see Outside of School

by Sophia Yonezuka


An Open Letter to the Teachers I See Outside of School,

I don’t mean to be mean or antisocial in any way, but if you want the honest truth I am not as thrilled as I may seem when I see you at the grocery store. After school hours I am usually trying to recover from a possibly dreadful day of school, and I certainly do not need a living,  breathing reminder it. Even the simple “hellos” can be annoyingly awkward, and the small talk…don’t get me started!  I simply don’t have the time for it.

It’s not like I think you have no life…I know that you do things aside from grading papers and reading books. But when I picture you, the only image that comes to mind is Mr. Teacher with work clothes, sitting in a wheelie chair with chalky hands. Sorry, that may not have been the compliment you were looking for. But it kind of gives me the creeps to think that you buy your produce at the same place I do.  Or the worst–when I see you with your girlfriend and inevitibly start thinking about your love life…ew!

Just the other day I was feeling exceptionally girly and in need of some alone time, so I decided to get a pedicure. When I entered the salon I was immediately relaxed by the soothing music in the background.  Taking a deep breath, I walked over to pick my polish; I chose “strawberry daiquiri,” my new favorite spring color.  But right as I got settled into my pedicure chair and dipped my feet into the hot water, I saw my English teacher sitting beside me.  I began to wonder why her body was shaking so violently next to me, and then realized she had the message clicker in one of her hands.  She was also reading her horoscope, in that month’s addition of Cosmo. ..ugh!

“Hey, Sophia!”

“Hi, what a coincidence to see you here,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic.

“Yeah, I was desperate to get my toes done!” At that moment I looked at her yellow, unshapely toe nails, and almost gagged. So much for a nice, relaxing afternoon by myself!

Then, I was jogging on a long windy road, feeling the breeze in my hair as I let my new favorite song fill my ears. When all of a sudden from the corner of my eye I see my math teacher. I knew that we made eye contact, so I had no choice but to stop.

“Hi Sophia, look at you getting into shape,” he said.  That very easily could have been an insult, but I ignored my analytical tendencies.

“Yeah thanks, I try.” At that moment I saw that he had a cigarette in his hand, and even worse, his dog next to him was taking a huge dump. Talk about awkward.

“Well I’ll let you get to it,” he said noticing I was a little uncomfortable.

“Okay, see you tomorrow.”  And then, right on cue, the kiss of death.

“And don’t forget your paper is due!” he shouted out into the cool fall air. That’s another thing about teachers…they never know what to talk about besides school.  He obviously knew that I was informed about the paper because I had talked to him in class about it. I mean, come on; you can try a little harder to think of some better conversation starters.  I love when teachers ask, “How did you like class today?” Ummm, like how am I supposed to respond to that, “Not much, actually you bore me so much I was struggling to keep my eyes open.”  Come on, dude, you were a kid once yourself!  If you don’t know what to say, it’s better to avoid the situation altogether.

So please the next time that we bump into each other, do us both a favor and hold the lecture for class. Just because I see you outside of school doesn’t mean that we need to be buddy-buddy or anything. Don’t take it personally; it’s just the way teacher-student relationships should go.


The student who likes to keep her school and personal life separate, thank you very much.


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