I’m writing this post under duress. There is a virtual ruler suspended over my hands, ready to pin my fingers to the keyboard if I do not comply. Even worse:The Trunchbull might throw me in the chokey. (For those of you who are not fans of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the Trunchbull is a headmistress who terrorizes children by throwing them into a torture chamber.) So write I will, but I will make it short. Hopefully, Truchbull (you know who you are) will be appeased.
Last week I received a little award. Other people in my district also won, and there was a dinner in our honor. Yes, thank you, it was very nice, and now I will move on.
Anyway, I had to go to the television studio in our district’s high school to make a thank you video that would be shown on award night. This was a good thing, because talking in front of many hundreds of people can be a paralyzing task, as many people know. Well, apparently, sitting in front of a green screen in a bright studio with dozens of people watching your every move through glass is no picnic either. Or so I learned. The hard way.
People won’t understand this unless they know me extremely well. I like to keep a low profile. I am painfully shy in unfamiliar situations and with people I don’t know well. And I despise being the center of attention. (A source of discomfort even at my own wedding.) So this was a nice, but totally unnerving honor to be
saddled graced with.
Like most teachers, when I assign student presentations, I tell students to use their index cards for key word cues, but to really try to memorize as much as they can. So I memorized- really improvised- my brief speech. A good idea, I thought, because then I wouldn't have to rely on the teleprompter, and the thank you would be natural looking. Also, what if my poor eyesight caused me to squint to see the prompter, or what if I stumbled on the words? I would forever be the English teacher who couldn't read!
Sigh... I should have read the stupid teleprompter. Since I didn't want to get confused by the combination of having the speech in my head contradict the speech on the prompter, I tilted my head slightly up and to the left. Which resulted in…my left eye looking closed, and a mouth that looked like paralysis had set in on one side. I looked like Quasimodo. With lipstick. Quasimodo’s sister.
I was so repulsed that I thanked the folks in the studio and bolted out of there. But that tape haunted me for weeks. Nightmares. Daymares. The whole enchilada. I even thanked my family for loving me even though I was so crooked.
When I recovered, I begged for a retake. This time I was not too proud to read the teleprompter. I was okay with the retake, but the folks running the event were not. They wanted Quasi, for reasons unknown. Probably for the comedic value.
However, there was still a slight ray of hope. In charge of the editing process was one of my former students, a wonderful boy who struggled to find his niche in the world until he found the magic that is the school’s television studio. I asked him to use his own judgment, and said that I trusted him to choose the tape that was better.
All I can say is that I’m so happy he liked my class!
Now shoo, Trunchbull!