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Chuck Brooks' column: A few thoughts from the mind of a teacher

Well, it’s MEA once again. That means we teach for three days and then the students can sleep in for four. How nice. Seems to me to be as good a time as any for “Random Thoughts From The Teacher.”

Recently, a colleague of mine and I were talking, and this topic surfaced. I was almost embarrassed to tell her I understood all too well. She said, “One of the nice things about being the age we are is no one questions us when we address our students as, “dear, honey, etc.” I don’t know when it happened, but one day I heard myself talking to a student, and I realized I sounded like Grandpa. Student asks for the umpteenth time, “I was absent yesterday. What did I miss?” I respond, “Sweetheart, what are you supposed to do when you’re gone? Look at the Moodle!” I laughed when those terms were used on me way back when. And now I’m doing it? And I can’t seem to stop the words from escaping. Why aren’t there medicines for that? Or are there?

I once prided myself on being the guy who fixed “that blinking clock” on the VCR. I knew technology. It was a no-brainer. Then, unknowingly, I made a trip to Dummiesville. My brain fights technology now. I can’t even use the phrase, “Technology is great when it works,” because I don’t even understand how it works, say nothing about getting it to work. Trying to keep pace with the kids on this topic is incredibly difficult. I’m surprised I try. Part of the reason I don’t really use Facebook is because I don’t get it. I agree to be someone’s friend when I get the request and then I’m off it faster than a student is out of the classroom at the end of the hour. Then throw in the newest generation of apps, including Insta-gram, Vine, Kik and Snapchat. Seriously. Unless someone starts adding subtitles to some of these student conversations I overhear, I’ll continue to wander aimlessly through the fields of technology.

I’ve sadly noticed in the last few years too many parents of our kids are dying far too young. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I lost Mom or Dad while I was in high school.

I hope that trend disappears soon.

We recently had our Homecoming dance, and as always, I was there as a chaperone, manning the admissions table. The kids showed up in mass numbers that night for a good time. It was nice to see the turnout as high school dances, in general, are becoming a dying activity. The part that was confusing, though, was kids paid $10 each to enter the dance and within an hour, many were leaving the dance. I figured they were unhappy with the music. I know I was. However, we asked them as they left, and they said they had a lot of fun but it was time to leave. Huh. Go figure.

Speaking of dances, The Sadie Hawkins dance is coming in November. The kids have no idea as to the origin of this dance. This used to be my favorite dance. It was born in the comic strip “Li’l Abner” in 1937. Google it if you’re interested. You’ll understand where the concept of “girl ask guy” comes from once you’ve read the history of Sadie Hawkins. Once it was a country-western-themed dance with kids wearing flannels and bib overalls. Someplace along the way, it changed into matching tops of any kind. It used to be heavy hockey jersey tops. In the last 10 years, some kids get very creative, in a harmless way. It’s still fun to see them as they come in as pairs with the same tops, but I still miss the hay bales and the woodsy feel to the dance. Time marches forward, eh?

Ya know what I love about Rosemount? It still has a downtown. It has a main street. Burnsville, Apple Valley and Eagan can’t say that. We can. I come from a small town where Main Street, USA, is still important to this writer. Rosemount has its own family-owned bank. I find it a charming and attractive contrast to Franchise and Highway Universe. I hope progress continues to look around our fair city, but let’s not overextend the invitation to “downtown.”

I continue to forget to share this with you. I have created a website where you can find all the columns I’ve written, if for some crazy reason you’d want to visit there. I always wait to post the most recent column after it’s been published in this paper. I think some of my alumni throughout the years have enjoyed reading a little bit about their alma mater. So, here’s the place to go.

With that, I bid you a happy MEA. Now, where is my next meeting located? Hmmmm.

Chuck Brooks is a teacher at Rosemount High School.