The Face

8 Jun

I am a full week done with the 10-year detour of being a high school teacher (guess that qualifies it as a road trip, not a detour) and I’m having trouble getting rid of that affliction called teacher face.
It’s that firm set of the jaw, intense locking of eyes and half-scowl that signals to a kid, “Oh, are you in trouble.” I had gotten pretty good at it over the years, although sometimes it backfired on me when a kid, knowing my overall good temperament, would think that the teacher face was just in jest — and would continue misbehaving.
Yesterday I used teacher face on an unsuspecting woman who butted in front of me in the line at the sandwich counter. She quickly picked up on what she had inadvertently done and apologized; she even told the sandwich maker to move my order ahead of hers. Yep, it works, but I didn’t mean to pull out such a strong weapon over a tuna salad on whole wheat.
A couple of years ago my kids caught me wielding teacher face at the movies. The teenagers in back of us were texting, talking and laughing. Teacher face was about to give way to stern lecture. “Let it go,” chided my daughter.
Still, I might practice teacher face now and then. I can think of several ways it would be helpful in the post-teaching world:
— When a yappy little dog is climbing up my leg, begging for attention, and “Down, boy” is not working.
— When a waiter screws up my order and doesn’t apologize.
— When someone parked next to me opens their car door too wide and dings my pretty white Honda.
— And when a solicitor at the door doesn’t stop talking long enough for me to say, “No, thank you.”
Sometimes teacher face speaks louder than words.


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