I live, play and raise my children in the community in which I work. This has it's perks. I feel like I'm really contributing to the city in which I work. I'm educating young minds, minds that have the potential to grow and make the city in which we live a better place. I can't guarantee their success, but I can set them on the right path.
It does have it's drawbacks though. Little attends second grade in the same school where I teach kindergarten. It's so convenient in so many ways, but not always easy. I hear every little thing that happens, stuff that most parents would never hear. The teachers, my friends, are pretty respectful about such things, but some children are not and it's my child who suffers. I have a hard time not feeling guilty about that, especially when his friends come up to me to tattle about a little indiscretion or about time he spent in the "thinking chair."
I find it difficult to be a regular mom when he's invited places. I'm always a bit guarded hanging around with moms of his friends. I'm careful what I say and how I say it and I can only assume they are just as careful around me.
I know a lot of kids and it's becoming increasingly more difficult to be anonymous. I'm sure it's been happening for sometime now, but I really noticed it this summer. Little, being eight, is really starting to climb the social ladder and is at that age when he's just more active in group activities. Soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. He wants to go places, no longer content with just playing in the backyard for long periods of time, so this summer we were out and about a lot more. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes uncomfortable, like at the city pool this summer. Saying hello to my students while wearing a bathing suit is a little bit odd. I can't quiet explain why, it just is.
I see kids I know in the grocery store, at the bank, at community events, at McDonald's and this morning in church. We were a minute or two late, so we tried to make an inconspicuous entrance, that is until one of my students said just a little too loudly, "hi Mrs. C!" So much for inconspicuous.
When I think about it though, I am proud of what I do and the fact of the matter is, if I wasn't good at it, what kid would bother to even say hello. If I wasn't nice, or hadn't earned their trust would they want to say hello? Of course not.
They want to say hello because I'm nice to them, I'm safe. They know I'll give them the time of day and I'll be genuine when I say ask how they are or if they're having fun.
So I may not be anonymous, but I'll happily go about my business in and around town and know that I'm doing a good job, just because a little kid said "hello".