I have made it a habit of just standing there from 7:20 to 7:35 holding my little pink thermos of coffee with a disgusted look on my face. I used to try to use this time as an opportunity to bond with my students. You know, relationship-building, and all that. It’s just . . . well . . . ever since last week when I broke up my first girl-fight, I just haven’t had it in me.

I mean, I’m not 100% sure what I’m supposed to be doing there. As far as I can tell, I just need to tell people to stop making out, stop swearing, and to pull up their pants, so their boxers don’t show. Ew, right?

This morning, one of my students (who was in a girl fight of her own last week) walked right by me with her friends, all swearing up a storm. With a straight face, I lifted one finger to begin my tired speech on appropriate language. That’s when she saw me. “Oh, Mrs. Henson! My language!” She paused for a second, searching for an explanation for her behavior . . . “Dangit, Mrs. Henson! You look just like a student! You need to go and get old!”

I guess she was trying to explain that she would have been more careful if she had known I was there, and toss in some weird backwards compliment, as well. She’s a bright girl. I laughed it off. What am I gonna do, right?

I watched the clock, and the kids, until 7:35, exactly, and thought about all of the things that they do when they think no one is watching. I think we’re all like that, really. Many of us just become more graceful about it (among other things) after puberty. Amid the usual mad scurry of the morning, I kept turning those words over in my head — “go and get old.”

Yeah. Not planning on it.