Even from a very early age, it was pretty clear I would grow up to be a nerd. I remember quite vividly in one of my earlier elementary years going through the typical class discussion surrounding the topic of: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Our instructor was a beast of a woman who did not enjoy fun, seemed to hate her job, and was deeply rooted in reality. Picture Delores Umbridge, but without the facade of granny sweetness. I thought these were some pretty odd characteristics for someone whose profession involved interacting with children on a daily basis. O.K., so my vocabulary was more like meany and grumpy pants at that age.
So, each of us took turns announcing our chosen dream profession. Some she would approve of with a slight smile and a nod, others she would amend. Her gaze reached my seat. I explained, “I am going to be an engineer on a star ship. Someday, I’ll be captain of my very own ship!”
Ms. Grumpy Pants gave me a quizzical glare and begrudgingly explains to the class that what I meant to say was astronaut. I instantly grimaced and tried to protest, but she shhhushd me and sternly growled that’s all. She moved on to the next student, Tony. What was about to happen only further exemplified my theory that Ms. Grumpy Pants was a meany, but I wouldn’t realize until years later; it was also evidence that she should have no longer been teaching.
Tony was doodling when Ms. Grumpy Pants called on him to share his desired jobby job. He looked up and simply said, “I want to be a dolphin” and went back to his doodling.
Tony looked back up and responded, “No. I want to be a dolphin.”
Ms. Grumpy Pants began to laugh. “Tony, I am not sure what you are getting at here.”
Tony answered with clear frustration in his voice, “I want to be a dolphin. You know, the animal. I want to swim and leap through the ocean with my dolphin friends.”
Ms. Grumpy Pants began to laugh quite heartily at this and began mocking him, “You hear that class? Tony is going to swim and play with the dolphins when he grows up!” She then notices that Tony’s doodle is none other than the finned animal he clearly admired. She snatched up the doodle and continued to point and laugh at both the doodle and poor Tony.
Some classmates laughed. At the time, I really did not understand what was so funny. I just understood it to be mean. I moved away to a new city and a new school later that year. I often wonder what became of Tony and what future repercussions that day had on Tony’s life. I find it both disturbing and sick there are instances where so called educators teach ignorance and hate. Things that should neverbe taught in a classroom.
Sooooo, I never really pursued that early childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, but if there are ever star ships built with warp capability; I am totally fighting tooth and nail to land a job on said star ship.