A constant parade of babysitters marched through my parents' home while I was growing up. Both teachers, they had instant access to kids they grew to know and trust. I wish that it were as easy for me today.
It isn't that I have so few students who I'd trust with my little guy, and certainly transportation is less an issue in my district, where it's a student's inalienable right to get a car shortly after earning his license. But I had no idea, until my husband and I pledged to share a monthly date night, what a challenge it would be to find someone who isn't working every Friday and Saturday or otherwise occupied.
I'm blessed because I often teach my students for two, three, or sometimes all four years of their high school careers. As a result, we sometimes grow closer to one another than we might if I only taught students for one year.
Case-in-point: I have a senior homeroom this year, and I've had these kids for all four years. I've comforted them through break-ups and cheered for hook-ups. I've celebrated wonderful report cards with them and empathized with them over scary stuff. I've applauded great classes and sympathized about horrible teachers. I've coached them through the labyrinthian trials and tribulations of college choices, applications and the interminable wait until that acceptance letter arrives. These students are, in many ways, my KIDS.
They take care of my bulletin boards and run errands. Several have offered to help with an attic restoration once the weather warms up. I've been invited to an Eagle Scout celebration and an older brother's wedding.
Some of these kids also babysit my son. I'm amused by the process of negotiation required to find a date acceptable to both our schedules.
"So, do you have to work on Saturday, the 29th?" I ask.
"I'll let you know when the schedule comes out this Friday, if that's okay."
The week passes, the date is--for the moment--confirmed. A week before, I check again.
Me: "Saturday still okay to sit?"
Student: "Yup. You're on my calendar. What movie are you going to see?"
"Don't know," I respond. "It's Patrick's turn to pick. But whatever it is, I'll enjoy the night out."
I usually send a text on date day just to double check one last time. Patrick and I enjoy a fun evening out, my student hangs with Ben, and I breathe a sigh of relief that this time, all the moves in the intricate dance of coordinating a sitter worked.