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