Growing up I was the totally awkward and clumsy kid. Whenever someone in the family would fall or spill something, they would call them “Brooke”. I am completely, not-at-all joking.
On Saturday mornings after pouring a big bowl of cereal, excited to watch Saturday morning cartoons, I would fill my bowl with milk and head to the living room for a morning of Scooby Doo. And on most occasions—without knowing it—I would leave a trail of milk from the kitchen to the living room. Then I’d spend the next 10 minutes cleaning it up.
On my first go-cart experience, I drove the car into the side of the office building, knocking out my two front teeth. Luckily they were only baby teeth.
Now I’m all grown up—this clumsy caterpillar turned into a butterfly. But I still have my really awkward and embarrassing moments. I’ll share my top 3. I’m sure you can relate.
- It was my first evaluation as a teacher—ever. I was a little nervous but I knew I was ready. I had worked hard—my students had come a long way. Unfortunately, one of my more active students began to get a little squirmy. Before I knew it his legs were sticking out the back of his chair, completely stuck. He began to panic from that stuck feeling, but I was able to quietly remove him. He had pulled a Brooke.
- Lack of sleep causes all kinds of embarrassing moments for me, especially when my tired brain finds lots of mispronounced (or misspelled) words. Sometimes I can even remember my students’ names. One day as I was passing out papers, I told my students to “discuss the question on the board as I pass out the shit of paper”. Notice how I didn’t say “sheets”. Fortunately, only a few students noticed but we all had a big laugh over it. They were kind enough not to run home telling their parents I cussed like a sailor.
- Sometimes I make grammatical errors as I write instructions on the board, especially when I am stuck in decision fatigue at the end of the day. I usually make my corrections in the morning. This time, I didn’t but students were quick to point out how I had misspelled “ask” turning it into “ass”. . .that was awkward.
With kids and silly teachers, there’s usually going to be some funny, awkward, or embarrassing moment. I know not to get too embarrassed anymore—from years of clumsy experiences. I’ve become humble in my awkwardness but this also allows me to be completely myself to my own clumsy and awkward students. They see me make mistakes and know that it’s okay. We’re all human here—imperfect but growing always.