Yesterday, as I was surveying the lunchroom, making sure that all was right in the world of lunch-swapping and surreptitious avoidance of veggies in favor of cupcakes, one of my students called out my name as I passed and beckoned me over.
"Hey, what's up?" said I.
"Check it out, Señora!" he cried, pointing to his face.
"Um, what am I looking at here?" I queried. (The acne? The lopsided hair in need of a combing? The braces?)
"MY FIRST BEARD HAIR!"
"Oh, I'm so proud! You go home and show that to your mother. She'll cry."
"I don't have to shave yet, but soon I'll have to," he said. He was so inordinately proud of having produced this one solitary chin hair, he was about to burst his buttons. It was hilarious. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as I congratulated him on this rite of passage, and somehow got involved in a discussion with the other boys at the table of who has shaved yet, how often, who else is growing facial hair. Kind of bizarre, although I do pride myself on being more approachable than some of my colleagues.
Moments like these are some of my favorite parts of being a teacher, especially in a middle school. That one beard hair, and the fact that he wanted to show it to me, gave me warm fuzzies.*
*Not warm and fuzzy enough to wish that my own children were boys, though. I enjoy these things from a distance.