If You Ask a Teacher Out to Mexican

Authored by Rachel Scott

Let me set the stage: A few years back, in the pre-pandemic world of education, I was a classroom teacher in a Mississippi Title 1 public school and a mom of four. I was never able to leave school until early evening and was mentally and physically exhausted by the end of each and every day.

On this particular day, I came home from school, collapsed on the couch, and was fighting the overwhelming urge to close my eyes and drift off to sleep. (This was one of the days where you feel so “done” that you just know you are not even being productive anymore…) As teachers and educators, no matter if you are in a public, private, or independent school, I think we can ALL relate to that feeling at some time or another.

I could not have been lying on that couch for more than 15 minutes when my wonderful husband (NOT being sarcastic here, he really is!) walks in from work, sees me lying there like some form of permanently exhausted pigeon, and says, “Honey, I know neither one of us feels like cooking. Let’s go to the Mexican restaurant for dinner.”

This is where the idea was born for a story in which educators everywhere could, hopefully, relate. This was just for fun, and I will tell it in a similar fashion to If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

Here it goes: 

If You Ask a Teacher Out to Mexican

If you ask a teacher out to Mexican,

they’ll ask if you will drive.

She will pick herself up off the couch and guiltily glance at the school bag on the kitchen floor. 

As she make her way to the car,

she’ll tell you how exhausted she is and that she doesn’t think she could drive that far.

You will drive to the restaurant. The warm sun on her face will make her feel like a cat,

so she will close her eyes and quickly take a nap.

After the short nap, she will realize she needs edible fuel,

so she will want to order queso and guacamole, too.

The salty chips will make her want something to quench her thirst,

so she looks at the drink options to decide what to get first.

The drink choices make her remember it’s a school night,

so she checks the time on her watch to see if it’s too tight.

Checking the time on her watch will make her think that it is 5 o’clock somewhere,

and she will ask what you think.

You will tell her it is still early,

so she will order a margarita and loves that the restaurant salt is pink.

Dinner is delicious and the server mentions a treat.

“Drinks are on special, so what will it be?”

She’ll think about all the work she has to do in that bag sitting on the floor,

but what will it matter if she waits to grade papers for one day more?

The procrastinated work will make her feel some guilt,

but you will reassure her with the slightest head tilt.

The second margarita will make her miss the beach.

You’ll promise to take the long, beach-route home and ask her what she thinks.

On the way home, the sun will be setting over the gulf,

so she will want to watch it and soak in the last of the sun.

Soaking up the sunset will make her think of the sand.

She will want to park and feel it cover her toes and her hands.

After she feels the sand, she will think about putting her toes in the water,

but chase the thoughts away with memories of something she read.

She will think of the article and with whom it was shared,

and remember her students and of lessons planned both past and ahead.

She will start thinking about what all needs to be done. 

Her mental list will keep growing as you drive closer to home.

She will begin to feel the weight of her work as the ride continues on,

so she will stay up late working to try and lighten the load.

The late night of work will cause her to get very little sleep,

and chances are,

tomorrow, when you ask her to go out to dinner and are heading to the car,

she’ll tell you how exhausted she is and that she doesn’t think she could drive that far.

I wish you memorable lessons with your students, moments to witness their joy, and the balance between work and rest so that you don’t feel like some form of a permanently exhausted pigeon, too!

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