I start teaching full time in a few months, but I think it’s useful to get a few things figured out before that happens. For example, where does one buy mostly tame crocodiles?
I’m a nervous person. I spend more time in my head than is healthy for anyone who spends more time thinking of sarcastic things they could have said during boring conversations. All conversations with myself are boring, so I spend a good amount of time trading acidic remarks with myself. It’s not healthy, and it has often left me doubting a lot of things I probably would have been confident in if I hadn’t spent so much time chipping away at that confidence.
One of those things is how I dress for work. I try to dress in a way that combines the aesthetics of grandparents and scavengers in a nuclear winter. That generally amounts to sweaters and coats I’ve had to repair by hand, which is another way of saying repaired poorly.
However, I’m beginning to question if this is the look I want to go for with my new students. I’m not some frail grad student that gags at the mention of qualitative research. I’ all be n actual teacher with an actual salary and an actual card next to my office door that will–hopefully–have my correct name on it.
So with all this professional change, isn’t it time for me to demonstrate that change in how I look? Yes, the answer is yes, and I’m thinking a crocodile would help.
Like many people, I’ve worn clothes my whole life, almost on a daily basis unless I can help it. In that time, I think I’ve always come across as just another person, and a poor one at that. I think it’s time for a change. I’m going to be in charge of around 70 young people, and I don’t want my apparel to demonstrate my income. I want it to demonstrate how I want them to see me. That’s where the crocodile comes in.
I’ve heard of people wearing the skin or pattern of these glorious lizards, and I think that is both ethically repugnant and an absolute waste of resources. The skin is just the shell, the wrapping, and like any birthday present, the real gift is both the wrapping and what’s inside. It just so happens that in this case, what’s inside has a bite force of 3,700 pounds per square inch, enough force to absolutely ruin a steak.
Crocodiles are some of the greatest machines of reptilian destruction on the market, and I think draping a live one over my shoulders would effectively tell my students that I’m not one of those halfhearted mumblers they’ve had in other classes. Who would come late to a class when there’s a real possibility that a crocodile will whip them with its Godzilla tail as they slink through the door? Who would ask for an extension at the last minute when a living artifact of prehistoric savagery can barrel roll the leg off a zebra and would certainly do it to the straps on their surprisingly expensive backpack? Who would try to hide that they’re on their phone when a shuffling mass of scales, teeth, and calculated rage could be right under their desk? Fucking nobody, that’s who.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never want my students to be afraid of me, and of course, I want them to feel safe in our classroom. That’s why the only thing I’m changing is what I drape over my shoulders: fewer scarves, more giant reptiles. I want them both to feel comfortable with me and to recognize that I’ve got it in me to absolutely eviscerate any kind of low-effort garbage they toss at me. I want them to know that I am a kind, warm, absolutely delightful teacher that will, if provoked, just devastate even the inkling of inefficiency and goof-offery when they’re in my territory.