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Friday Night Game

For the most part, students like seeing teachers outside of school, although they don’t always know quite what to do. Some are enthusiastic (“Mr. Hasan!”). Some are nervous (“How are you?” “Ok… I guess. I mean…”). And some just pretend you’re not there.

In no particular order…

1. Fast Food

The guy behind the cash register at the burger joint was one of my students. We both smiled when he noticed me in line. He and I had previously talked about where he worked, and he had declined to be specific. (“Oh, I work at a place.”) Now I knew his secret: working fast food in high school — a fine American tradition.

After he ordered, he joked with me. “You took my phone today. I won’t accept your money. … Just kidding!”

But his demeanor was nervous, and it was hard to make conversation. He kept ending his sentences with “… I don’t know…”. Which is just fine with me. He was smiling and joking and talking, and that’s more than enough.

But then he said, “I’ll give you my employee discount, Mr. Hasan.” 

He punched up a couple buttons and my total went down by four dollars.

“Now you need to give me a good grade. … Just kidding!”

2. Trainers

Those must be your students, Mac said, pointing at the sidelines.

Intermingled with jugs of water, misting fans, a training table, and football players milling around, there was a group of student physical managers/trainers. They were looking in our direction. Several were students from last year. Others were students from this year.  They started shouting and waving.

“Hi, Mr. Hasan!” 

I waved my hands back and forth. They all laughed.

3. Four Feet Away

We were sitting in the parent section, one block over from the students. These were parents who clearly knew the kids well. They shouted hellos to the kids in the stands next to us and to other kids along the sidelines.

Around halfway thru the game, a student walked up to talk to the parents in front of us. She gave them hugs. She answered their questions. She had been in my class last year — easily one of the brightest students. 

She stood just below us facing up the stadium, looking directly in our direction. I smiled, expecting to make eye contact with her. She intentionally avoided me as she answered questions that the other parents were peppering her with. 

It was a bit odd. Her face was about four feet in front of mine. She certainly knew I was there. She couldn’t avoid seeing my smile, even if out of the corners of her averted gaze. But there was no break in the conversation when I could say hi to her. Then she sat down next to the parents with her back to us, dove into an animated conversation, and then got up and quickly left.