I Didn’t Save Any Crabs Today. Do I Suck?


  <p class="photocaption">
    First Crab!

Buddy Boy took us to the beach a couple of weeks ago. It was the last week of school in our district, so the beach was a seething mass of field-tripping third graders.

We worried a little about the babies around all those kids, but they were fantastically careful. The big kids, in fact, showed a lot more class than the 20-something dudes who ambled down with a bag filled with shore crabs — probably a hundred, all told — and dumped them on the beach. They claimed they’d been having crab races. It’s a national park, that beach, so, for the record:

  • Crab torture is way illegal.
    • Not to mention stupid and cruel.
      • And probably a predictor of future sociopathic behavior.
        • But I digress.

Anyway, as you’ll remember, I’m a naturalist. Teaching kids how to appreciate nature appropriately is my spec-i-al-i-ty. And here were a bunch of kids, a bag full of stunned shore crabs, and an off duty naturalist. You’d think I would’ve done something about it, wouldn’t you?

But I didn’t.

I did shovel some of the crabs back into the rocks. And pick one of the hardier looking ones for Boobaby and Buddy Boy to hold, briefly. But, apart from that, I didn’t do any teaching.

At the time, I told myself that I was spending a relaxing day with my family and friends, so it was OK that I didn’t take advantage of the “teachable moment.” I wonder if that’s really it, though. Only lately, I’ve felt really shy about practicing my former profession: teaching.

And shy is one thing that no teacher can afford to be.