Context is very funny when it comes to personal and/or professional relationships. It can be very difficult to imagine certain people outside of their usual contexts, and I have several personal examples, and maybe some flipped on their heads!
In my second grade year, Molly had many health problems, and caught pneumonia during the winter, forcing hospitalization. On one particular day, I was at school, and I had been notified that I would need to ride to the hospital with one of the school staff members in order to meet up with my family at the hospital. The day was cold and icy, and the route involved going up some steep hills in Fort Dodge. Mrs. Opheim was very nice to have driven me to the hospital, indeed.
Although I didn’t think about it at the time, I might have thought that to be really weird. Some kids might have the conviction that their teachers live within the school, or basically don’t exist outside of the school setting. I never held this conviction, but still thought it would be weird to see my teachers outside of the school setting.
Flipping that on its head, since some of my best “friends” are my teachers from when I was in Lincoln, it does not seem weird or awkward at all for me to see them outside of the school setting, given that I have invited them to tea or lunch or bridge rendezvous.
This awkwardness outside of given contexts can also be true of college students toward their professors or TAs. As a TA, I get to work with undergraduates on a regular basis. But, many of these undergraduates I will see in other contexts as well! Some of them are (semi) regulars at Hillel, and some of them have been Northwestern athletes, as well as others that I have seen outside of the classroom. This situation might be different, however, as I am much closer in age to the undergraduates than a teacher is to his/her students’.
Additionally, maybe there is less awkwardness since I tend to put on the same face, regardless of what context I enter. I see no reason to hide behind aliases. Of course, I would need to put on a more professional face in certain settings, but I can still have some of the Noah Personality even then, as long as it is not overboard.
It may also be that I have held a very vibrant social life as a graduate student, under the motto, “Work hard, play harder.”
Come to think of it, however, during my elementary and middle school years, my schema of teachers never included twenty- or thirty-somethings, as most of my teachers from the early years of my schooling appeared to be in their forties. Yet, now I have several friends who are teachers, in their mid-twenties! How schemas can change from a child to a young adult!
And another thing that I should mention: there are those times when someone familiar appears in an unfamiliar context, and you do not recognize the person at all until prompted (or an awkward time)! Has this ever happened to you, readers?
Today is the one-hundred and sixty-second day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes twenty-three weeks and one day.