Job Titles

I am a teacher.

That word comes with lots of baggage. The word teacher makes some people all warm and fuzzy while throwing others into PTSD flashbacks.  Add to that the fact that I am a  French teacher, and it garners some interesting reactions.

Actually, there are really only two major responses to the revelation that I am a French Teacher.

Typical Introductory Conversation Type 1

Me: Hi! My name is Abby!

*shake hands*

Person A: Hi Abby, I’m Person A! So, Abby, what do you do?

Me: Oh, I teach high school French!

Person A: *awkward pause* Oh. I took Spanish.*

*please note: this is interchangeable with “Oh. I failed French.” or “Oh, then I guess we have nothing in common.”

Typical Introductory Conversation Type 2

Me: Hi! My name is Abby!

*shake hands*

Person B: Hi Abby, I’m Person B! So, Abby, what do you do?

Me: Oh, I teach high school French!

Person B: Oh really? *sketchy french laugh* Voulez-vous couchez avec moi*??

*please note: this is interchangeable with literally ANY french phrase that Person B has ever heard before and retained. Examples include (but are not limited to) “Parlez-vous français?” and “Où est la bibliothèque?”

Do you see what happened there?

Really, Either situation leaves the Abby in the situation in a little bit of an awkward social position, don’t you think? It’s like Person A thinks we no longer have any common ground because of my language affinity, while Person B is trying to force common ground by spouting random words (and occasionally unintentionally soliciting). Maybe I should just make up a new job title? Hmmm.

Romance Language Coach plays into too much innuendo.

Francey-Pants Extraordinaire doesn’t sound like a real job. Neither does  Paid Language Nerd, for that matter.

Francophone Guide is too pretentious.

Language Spreading Plague-Rat is just too menacing.

I’m drawing a blank. Any other ideas?

Whatever my job title may be, the reality has already garnered some interesting mottos. One of my students recently made my day by saying “French Class; Where People Find Happiness”. That’s my favorite.

There are, however, other (less savory) options that arise just as organically. One immediate example comes to mind. Sometimes, to try to make vocabulary more interesting, I post videos for my students on One time, I decided to be particularly helpful/entertaining and I assembled this video:

There I am, trying to make things more engaging for my students, right? And some other French teacher must’ve decided to use it as a resource, because months after we’ve finished talking about it in my class, I got an e-mail notification from YouTube.

That’s me.

Abby, French Teacher

Making the School Day Harder, One Lesson at a Time.

I love . . .

I love the iridescent glow of mid-morning sunshine as it illuminates the white slats of my shutters.
I love the stillness of the woods after dinner.
I love discovering small treasures that others have overlooked in their bustle and rush.
I love the feel of a new word as it leaves my mouth.
I love the smell of Dad’s wallet when he throws it on the counter at the end of a long day; pocket lint, car oil, and old dollar bills.
I love the widening of young eyes as they light in comprehension.
I love long phone conversations with my siblings, spending hundreds of words of quality time.
I love playing in the torrential downpour of late summer, dripping water from the planes of my face while impressive claps of thunder rumble in the background.
I love knowing that I do not need to rush out when my bed is indulgently cozy.
I love singing at the top of my lungs until my voice feels rough with use.
I love the smell of fresh baked bread wafting out of a toasty kitchen.
I love hearing my students attempt to out-wit each-others’ witty repartee in attempts to make me laugh.
I love how magnolias in bloom remind me of my bedroom windows in New York.
I love putting my arms around a loved one and letting them dry their tears on my shoulder.
I love the smell of quiet building sites in the spring, the pungent wealth of fresh earth intoxicating all passersby.
I love the soft stroke of a warm breeze through the window.
I love the warmth of light through my eyelids when I am drifting between awake and asleep.
I love the busy bustle of a happy crowd.
I love the perfume of lilacs tickling my senses in the dawn of springtime.
I love turning the fragile pages of a brittle book while the antique dealer watches me out of the corner of his eye.
I love being surprised for no reason at all; my favorite coffee, a new book to read, or maybe a written message hidden on my desk.
I love when my breath catches at the beauty of a harmonic blend.
I love the burst of a sweetness as I sneak a sun-warmed strawberry from the pailful to pop into my mouth.
I love my kitten’s pur thrumming through me as she settles next to my chest as I read.
I love hugs from my brothers, feeling safe, like I am little again.
I love sit-down dinners with dear ones, laughingly relaxed.
I love the soft scrape of my skate against the ice as I whirl across the rink with the wind kissing my cheeks.
I love turning in the final project and feeling the weight of task-responsibility roll off of my back.
I love the faraway view of Boston across the cliffs in Magnolia, like a faded piece of lace at the edge of a brilliant blue skyline.
I love nights so full of fireflies that it seems the sky is swirling about you as you stroll.
I love seeing both bowers  staring out from the cards in my hand for an important round of euchre, amid the easy camaraderie of friendly competition.
I love making the tired cashier smile at the end of the day.
I love stepping into a sparkling clean kitchen, knowing that all is well with my tiny domestic world.

People Who Look Better Brunette . . .

I have never dyed my hair.

Now, maybe I’m showing my age, but hair dye for the young is a conundrum. Why dye colored hair? I have students who dye their hair more than I wash my jeans. Now, maybe that’s more an indicator of my lazy laundering habits than their indecisive hairstyles, but it doesn’t change the fact that they frequently make lightly those changes which I’ve always considered quite permanent.

Simultaneously, the more I teach my multi-hued pupils, the more single gray strands of hair I have found. That sophomore who got her ring tangled in the string of her thong during class and started freaking out (Help! Help! I’m stuck. . . . I’m really stuck!) in her otherwise all-male classroom? Yeah. . . that’s gotta be responsible for at least one gray strand. And that, my friends, is par for the course as far as a-day-in-the-life-of-Cakey goes. Thankfully, despite all gray-hair-inducing trauma (major or minor), at the ripe old age of 25 I am still nowhere near salt-n-pepper, but it does make a gal think. As an undyed-in-the-wool,  natural-hair-hue type of woman, what will I do when I really start crossing that bridge?

The world of hair dye presents some fascinating possibilities. I am curious . . do blondes really have more fun? Do gentlemen really prefer them? Is a ginger really so glamorous as Gilligan’s Island led me to believe? These are dangerous questions that can take a girl in daringly-dyed directions unless she’s careful.  So, you might ask, what is holding me back? What is my anti-DYE?

Past Precedent.

As a firm believer in learning from history,  all I have to do is reflect on famous dye-jobs and there-in lies my answer! 

#1: Marilyn Monroe

While famously blonde, and clearly an attractive one, Marilyn just looks better with her natural color.   

#2: Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore should ABSOLUTELY always stay brunette, don’t you think? 

#3: Judy Garland

Judy should NEVER have gone out for those blonde-ish tresses. . . not to mention the bangs.

#4: Brigitte Bardot


Brigitte was naturally gorgeous as a brunette. As a blonde she looks like she’s getting sick, don’t you think?

It’s simple fact: These ladies just look better brunette.

And that is my ANTI-dye.

For now.