All Kinds

"It takes all kinds to make a world."  Yes, to make a world full of trouble.

Today, one more day of trying to teach while ensnared in a web of red tape, I'm thinking specifically about two kinds of people:

1. The kind who thinks the rules don't apply. You can give them the Suzuki Speech before beginning lessons, but they still don't understand that they need to be involved.  You can tell them tuition is due at the beginning of the month, but they won't bring it until you remind them, sometimes multiple times.  You can even make them sign a contract, but they may or may not abide by it, depending on the weather.  Their lives are just SO complicated and SO busy; you couldn't possibly understand what they are going through, but at least try to understand it's much more important than anything you care about.

2. The kind who takes a mile. Growing up, my mother had the same job I do now, so I learned early the value of a professional relationship.  It drove us crazy the way her students would tromp through the kitchen exclaiming, "Wow!  That smells GOOD!" or "What are you reading?"  We felt invaded, even when the people were our friends -- imagine your friends following you to the office and trying to make small talk while you work.  Eventually, she trained them to come in through the front door, and I've done the same with my students.

Except then we had this little storm, and shoveling four feet of heavy, wet snow is exhausting; it was all we could do to clear a path from the street to the front and back doors.  I (generously, I thought) offered to let my students use the back door that week.

Now the snow is melting and the walkway is clear, but they have still been coming in and out through the back door.  I feel awkward refusing, especially when they look at me with Bambi eyes and say, "It's soooo cold, can we go out through the back?"  So I say of course, and they walk through the kitchen commenting on dinner / dishes / decor.  It throws me into the most grumpy mood imaginable.  Is it a big deal?  Of course not.  (And at least it's reasonably clean.)  But I hate feeling like a sucker when I was just trying to be nice.

Now, I'm willing to bet that I've played both parts on occasion.  So I'm actually, in a sick sort of way, grateful to the people who have inspired this rant post.  Because of them, I am more than careful to honor my commitments and respect the boundaries others set.  Here's hoping that's contagious.