Dread Alert

Today is dental day for me. An appointment with my dentist comes around once every six months. Her office is close, so I don’t need to fight traffic to get there. She is pleasant. She is gentle. She even gives me a little bag containing a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss before I leave. So why do I feel anxious on dental day?

Thinking about my appointment set me to wondering if any of my students over the years were filled with dread on school days. I was always excited to greet my students and tried to plan engaging activities for presenting concepts. Since none was ever dragged to the door kicking and screaming, I made the assumption they were okay with being there.

As a child and teenager, I enjoyed school. I liked the structure of the day and felt satisfaction, and maybe a little pride, when I saw a star at the top of an assignment (although pride was frowned upon by my parents). However, my brother, though far more intelligent than I, was on “dread alert” five days a week between September and May. Even before I started school, I remember the battles between Dad and said brother on many days prior to Bro’s departure for school. And he did depart, since Dad always won. Many years later I learned from my brother some of the horrendous things that happened in his first grade classroom.

Dentists must be happy that they see most of their patients only twice a year. They can be liked on 363 days. By contrast, a student who dreads school is stuck with dreaming about weekends for many weeks during each year.

I will go to my appointment. I will arrive on time. My dentist will never know that I dread being there. My newly polished teeth will sparkle, and I will forget that she is a dentist until my reminder call in July.

Clipart from Freeclipart


  1. I enjoy going to the dentist office. I didn't used to feel that way, but since I've been careful to take better care of my teeth and gums, the experience has transformed.

    Hope your visit goes well.

    Thanks for sharing the stories about your brother. He is one very special guy, and one would never guess that he used to be that way.

    1. Secondary Roads, fortunately my dentist is a very nice lady. She does the cleanings herself. Her assistant does x-rays and sets everything up.

      My big bro is very special. He is definitely not a conformist and he has a fantastic sense of humor and a big heart. I am blessed.

  2. I hope your "dreaded day" turned out to have no cause for dread. Thanks for the shout-out. "Far more intelligent." Oh, yeah. Which of us can put "PhD" after her name?

    1. Vanilla, as usually happens, I was in and out quickly and had no problems.

      I have to ask: Which one of us did not need to put in the long hours of study in order to succeed and which one inherited not only Mom's award-winning stills in math but Dad's critical thinking ability?