Thursday, January 19, 2012

Someday, I'll be captain of my very own ship!

Even from a very early age, it was pretty clear I would grow up to be a nerd. I remember quite vividly in one of my earlier elementary years going through the typical class discussion surrounding the topic of: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Our instructor was a beast of a woman who did not enjoy fun, seemed to hate her job, and was deeply rooted in reality. Picture Delores Umbridge, but without the facade of granny sweetness. I thought these were some pretty odd characteristics for someone whose profession involved interacting with children on a daily basis. O.K., so my vocabulary was more like meany and grumpy pants at that age. 

So, each of us took turns announcing our chosen dream profession. Some she would approve of with a slight smile and a nod, others she would amend. Her gaze reached my seat. I explained, "I am going to be an engineer on a star ship. Someday, I'll be captain of my very own ship!"

I was an effing cute kid!

Ms. Grumpy Pants gave me a quizzical glare and begrudgingly explains to the class that what I meant to say was astronaut. I instantly grimaced and tried to protest, but she shhhushd me and sternly growled that's all. She moved on to the next student, Tony. What was about to happen only further exemplified my theory that Ms. Grumpy Pants was a meany, but I wouldn't realize until years later; it was also evidence that she should have no longer been teaching. 

Tony was doodling when Ms. Grumpy Pants called on him to share his desired jobby job. He looked up and simply said, "I want to be a dolphin" and went back to his doodling.

Ms. Grumpy Pants amended, "So, you want to be a football player for the Miami Dolphins."

Tony looked back up and responded, "No. I want to be a dolphin."

Ms. Grumpy Pants began to laugh. "Tony, I am not sure what you are getting at here."

Tony answered with clear frustration in his voice, "I want to be a dolphin. You know, the animal. I want to swim and leap through the ocean with my dolphin friends."

Ms. Grumpy Pants began to laugh quite heartily at this and began mocking him, "You hear that class? Tony is going to swim and play with the dolphins when he grows up!" She then notices that Tony's doodle is none other than the finned animal he clearly admired. She snatched up the doodle and continued to point and laugh at both the doodle and poor Tony. 

Some classmates laughed. At the time, I really did not understand what was so funny. I just understood it to be mean. I moved away to a new city and a new school later that year. I often wonder what became of Tony and what future repercussions that day had on Tony's life. I find it both disturbing and sick there are instances where so called educators teach ignorance and hate. Things that should never be taught in a classroom. 

Sooooo, I never really pursued that early childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, but if there are ever star ships built with warp capability; I am totally fighting tooth and nail to land a job on said star ship. 

Instead, I became a teacher. Weird. I think I'm pretty good at it though. 


  1. You had a terrific of what not to become!

  2. what a sad old lady. She certainly shouldn't be teaching children young enough to still dream of being dolphins and star ship captains.
    Your little friend might not have been able to become a real dolphin but given the right encouragement may have pursued any of a number of fabulous futures involving sea creatures.
    As for captaining a star ship, surely as a teacher, you are now captain to those who may potentially be a future crew of such fabulous craft.

    My New Blog – “Lizard Happy”

  3. UPDATE: I received an email from none other than George Takei commenting on this post!!!

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: George Takei
    Date: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM
    Subject: Thanks and check this out.
    To: ████████████████████████████████████████

    Dear Zeke,

    You may not be aware of it, but it seems to me that you are a Captain of your own starship. You are a teacher, the captain of a class full of young minds that you are guiding to their future. Keep them dreaming and inspired; keep them engaged and taking initiatives; and they will achieve and contribute to building our collective future. If you do that, I think you are indeed a good Captain.

    Thanks for your undying support for the vision of Star Trek.

    Words cannot even describe my excitement and/or giddiness!

  4. I truly enjoyed reading it this; it was funny and entertaining.

    There are many people out there like your Umbridge teacher: people who might have aspired to do well and failed miserably or simply ended up doing a job they hate.

    Just reading your blog a get a glimpse at the type of person you are. I'm quite certain your an excellent teacher. And I agree with George!

  5. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you about a broken link on your site. Please email me back and I would be happy to point them out to you.




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