The Collective Imagination

I used to think it was just me. In high school, for two years, I naively thought my name never came up on the rumor mill because I never did anything to excite attention. Maybe that’s precisely why my name did get run through the mill, like everyone else’s. No one could believe my life could be that boring, so they made it exciting behind my back. Through my awakening to the truth I learned that no matter how one chose to live life, people will talk.

I can’t tell you how many people, men usually, doubt the sincerity of my mild manners. “You’re a red-head,” they insist, “you must be wild when no one’s looking.” Then they scrutinize my face for some tell-tale sign that they’re right. Then they talk to others like I have some hidden past that taught me to be demure. Thanks a lot.

Because I choose to keep my life exceptionally private from my student-offenders, by default I invite them to concoct stories about me. I don’t even want to know what’s said about me in their cells, but sometimes they’ll make wild guesses in front of me. According to them I grew up in the Northeast, live in a two story home in the suburbs, have teenage sons (which defies math and science), I do not drink, and my life is as perfect as a diamond, none of which could be further from the truth.

So this morning, when I read the following Facebook status of my friend, who teaches in China, I had a good laugh:

My life is always much more exciting in my students’ collective imagination. 

MS. M–!
Hiiiiiiiii. I honestly hope your not getting too stressed from all the stupid exam gradings.. -.-  …just think of the winter break intensive partying you’ll do that’s coming up XD. Okay I’m not trying to be a kiss ass or anything..but IM SO CLOSE TO an 89.5…..

It’s not just me, it must be true for many teachers that we live beautiful lives in our students’ collective imagination. I love their dreams.


About hey miss

A teacher. A prison guard. I used to think that was like oil and water. Like lightening and metal. Some days it is. Some days it's magic.
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One Response to The Collective Imagination

  1. Kathy Miner says:

    Fascinating…your students have constructed for you a perfect life, perhaps a life they all covet for themselves? When they imagine you as the mother of teenage sons, maybe they are imagining what it would be like if you were their mother… I feel like you’ve been given an emormous gift – it’s beautiful, what they wish for you!

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