Yesterday I got invited to prom - as a chaperone. Now, as someone who likes to take an active role in the school I teach at, I've done the chaperoning thing a number of times. Each time I show up, I smile at the same familiar teachers who agree to (or are suckered into) supervising the event. In a way, it's kind of a nice thing though. It allows you to get to know colleagues who teach on the other side of the building. On the other hand, it's a little upsetting that there aren't more staff involved in the extra-curricular activities, but so be it. I know many teachers have important lives outside of school that involve families and the like, so I suppose it won't bother me too much. But the thing that will bother me about prom is the dancing and the music.
I'm not sure that I ever really considered what it would be like to chaperone a dance prior to becoming a high school teacher, even though I've known I wanted to be a teacher practically my entire life (you'd think I would have considered the possibility once or twice), but it's not quite what I expected. It's not that I didn't expect them to hump each other, or for the music to be raunchy; my high school dances were like that too. It's just having to be the person who watches it and does something about it is a lot different than being a fellow participant. Seeing your student, who you have every day in an academic environment, hump some dude on the dance floor is often a unsettling experience, especially if you have to make eye contact during said humping and attempt to get them to stop. AWKWARD - especially when you see them again on Monday.
Last year another teacher and I attempted to get two prom goers to end their mating ritual by sticking our butts in the air and mimicking them. The idea was that it would make them uncomfortable enough to blush and stop. Nope. Fueled the fire. Guess we should have known. At another dance I was at last year, one teacher brought a spray bottle and sign that read, "Stop. That's nasty!" I've come to believe that outside of stopping the music and turning on the lights, her idea is the most effective. So this year I'll be heading off to prom armed with signage and water. Let's just hope that's enough.