(that's me, drum major, poofy bangs and french braid. oy.)
on NPR i heard that geocities is no more. which strangely brought back some (not-so-great) memories.
in my former life, i was a high school english teacher (and even yearbook adviser). yes, it's true.
at 5'2" and 24 years of age, i lorded over those 9th, 11th, and 12th graders. at least i tried to. mostly they just thought i was grouchy and mean and _________ (fill in the blank with whatever obscenity a teenager in the mid-late 90s would have used).
i LOVED teaching. well, i loved hanging out with the kids. the english lit and grammar were just ways of allowing me to do what i felt called to do at the time--spend time with teenagers, listen, encourage. i loved imagining that i was the "cool" teacher they could share things with, talk to, get advice from.
things sort of went downhill when i taught 9th grade honors english. i don't really know it all started. maybe i was too tough on them. maybe they were just punks. maybe i gave a test or 2 they didn't like. maybe they had always enjoyed resting on their middle school laurels and didn't prepare enough. maybe i should have been more flexible about turning things in late. maybe they should have heard me when i told them that grown-ups don't usually get extended due dates in life.
at any rate, one day i found out that a few boy students had created a website about me. now, this was in 1997, so way before it was normal for kids to just be messing around on the Internet. unfortunately for me, i had graduated from the high school at which i was teaching, so the students had easy access to (awful and embarrassing) pictures of me in my pre-swan stage. ok, maybe i never reached the swan stage, but i had some ultra pre-swan growing pains.
(this is how badly i want to forget how i looked in high school: a while back someone posted pictures of me from 9th grade, and i was so horrified that i ended up de-friending about 200 people and locking down my FB page for a while. talk about needing to get over it...)
the only thing i can remember about the page is that there was some (funny) prose about me heading to florida (for spring break maybe? or christmas to visit family) and being satanic (i'm guessing because at the time rick was a youth minister) and there was a picture of me from high school.
as soon as the boys got wind of the fact that i knew the page was up, they took it down. i'm not sure how many people saw it. my ego was really bruised. i have never been very good at laughing at myself. i wanted the boys punished, which our school administrator wouldn't do because one of the boys' dads was the president of the football parents association (whatever it's called--see i've blocked all school lingo out of my vocabulary) and he didn't want to offend the parent. seriously?!
the other boy came to me and apologized, which made me feel a lot better.
but even now as i type, i feel my palms getting sweaty, my heart racing a bit. it definitely was not the most fun experience. i think maybe it was so traumatizing to me because i had hoped they would think i was awesome, and instead i realized that at least some of the students regarded me as their enemy. or maybe they were just being stupid. maybe now they would feel bad about it.
i know in high school i didn't always behave in ways that i would be proud to admit now.
isn't it strange how hearing one word, geocities, can bring back such a flood of memories?