Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Photo: Wikipedia
So here's the thing: the last week and a half has been occupied by the process of adapting to my new student teaching gig and the corollary early wakeups and big-time effort involved with remembering several dozen names and getting used to what is by any normal understanding a very stressful environment. It's going well for the most part.

Not a whole lot of time to check in on motor news, though. And what thoughts I have about wheels in rare idle times tend to cluster around personal favorites with an eye towards purchase sometime this year, maybe, God help me.

(Something specifically school-related in the works for these parts. Stay tuned.)

A lot will depend on where I'm teaching. If I'm somewhere in the city, commuting remains the province of bicycles at best and subways as a norm. (My current school doesn't even have parking.) If I head out to Nassau or Westchester - a proposition with some appealing elements - I'm back to driving in and out. Or out and in, really, going against the usual commute patterns. Which is good, even if I'm not excited about the proposition of burning that much gas on a regular basis. Same goes with most of the schools around Queens and Brooklyn that lay beyond reasonable biking range.

Lingering uncomfortable thought: Kinda wonder what kind of reaction some or most of my potential rides would get from the staff and students of a modern high school. Does anyone remember a teacher who drive any kind of cool car at all? My first German Lehrer rode a motorcycle, some sort of very normal medium-displacement Japanese cruiserish thing if I remember right. My senior-year physics teacher was a rotund gearhead (we once had a blissful little side conversation about the pros and cons of small-block versus big-block Cobras) although I have no clue what he drove. Our beloved sixth-grade matriarch had a mid-Eighties Trans Am that actually took on a pretty high-class tone in association with her. Past that, nothing sticks out.

I dread thinking that teachers are just somehow supposed to drive modest boring cars, that anything with some panache and implied speed is somehow a violation of a professional code or a misappropriation of a salary drawn from tax rolls. Yes, there's the traditional teacher salary/budget concerns and if someone rolled into the staff parking lot in an MP4-12C that would definitely cause some justified eyebrow raising, but that's not what's really going on here.

There's any number of wonderful, eccentric, affordable choices out there for a math teacher with some mechanical skills and a taste for the unconventional. An average car is right around thirty thousand; using that as a maximum is hardly an impediment to finding and enjoying something glorious. Take twenty percent off if you want and we're still in the midst of plenty or wonderful choices.
Does this make me look weird? Photo: Charlie Kindel
But what's the optics of a situation like that? I really wonder if showing up in something that the straight world sees as "odd" would have any repercussions. What does a good sports car say about its owner - especially in a potentially negative way?

Never mind a motorcycle. Yes, I would completely ride to school given the chance, but even outside some of the logistics (changing out of leathers and into normal clothes before class, etc.) what does that say about a person who is supposed to be a proper and civil example to the youth of America?
There's a geometry lesson in here somewhere. Photo: Martyn
This may all be a non-issue, but it just seems that given the reliably dull choices that far too many teachers make I wonder if there's something both intrinsic and subliminal going on here that I haven't yet discovered. I hope not. I'll have enough other things to consider, from pure finances to pragmatic necessities to the hopeful consent of the significant other. (Actual statement from her perspective: "Yes, I know I said you could get whatever you want, but I really hope that you will pick something that would work for both of us and what we do and what happens if we have to buy something like a food processor and bring it home?" Sigh.)

Something to haunt my thoughts as I work on classroom discipline and lesson plans. Although it probably won't completely overrule the wish factor.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen some professors drive some nice cars but I agree, not so much high school teachers. My favorite was my professor Hasan Elahi who had a Z3. That car was so much fun!


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