First Impressions

First impressions are pretty monumental. Some people are good at them, and some are, well, downright terrible.

One way or the other, first impressions set the tone for the relationships you will have with people. So what does it mean when, on the first day of student teaching, the principal sees your boobs?

I wish I was kidding.

One of the perks of being a mom who breastfeeds is the intimate relationship I’ve formed with my breast pump. By intimate relationship, I actually mean we’re frenemies; pumping is the bane of my existence. But since student teaching means I’m away from my sweet boy for most of the day, I have to make time to pump at school. My mentor teacher located an unused conference room, showed me how to lock the door, and said I should be perfectly fine in there.


There I was, half-naked and holding two plastic cones to my chest, when Someone jiggled the door knob. It was locked, so I figured I was safe. Not one minute later, Someone returned with the jingle-jangle of keys. This can’t be good. The key went in, the door opened, and there stood the principal.

I wanted to disappear.

It was like a real-life train wreck, with “I’m so sorry!”s and stammered half-sentences falling all around us against the whirring-buzzing soundtrack of my breast pump. Can you picture it? Don’t. There are no words.

She quickly closed and re-locked the door as I attempted to recover what was left of my dignity while still managing to hold these tools of torture to my chest. I made a point of stopping by her office later to make light out of what was easily one of the most mortifying moments of my life, and we both had a good laugh. 

I would like to think that somewhere along the way, the principal will associate me with things like stellar classroom management and brag-worthy lesson plans; she’ll say things to her colleagues like, “Boy, is she an expert on Common Core!” and “She’s super awesome at differentiating instruction!” and “Gee, I’m glad I hired her!” (please?!) But more likely than not, whether I’m a nobody or Teacher of the Year, that first impression is going to stick. I will always be remembered as that student teacher,
The Girl with the Breast Pump.

(Who would really love to be employed in the upcoming school year, please and thank you.)


Author: Erica the Great

Wife, momma, teacher, and a twenty-something for a little while longer. Every day, I'm a lot of things for a lot of people. This space? It's just for me.

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