Teaching was a great lifestyle career for me because I love youth and I love English and Art. I was so happy working with young people who honestly faced new information in various ways, excited, annoyed depressed terrified and oblivious to their surroundings.
Every Junior High school teacher knows the hormones rage so hard for our students. Every day is a crisis for poor pubescents who love you on Monday, hate you on Tuesday and don’t give a damn about anything on Wednesday. In my opinion, as a group, the young are the very best of humanity, until peer pressure and all the crap that mean does to them kicks in. It’s the time when we say stuff we don’t mean, steal stuff we can’t believe we stole, smoke stuff we know isn’t ok, and drink until we’re vomiting on our friend’s shoes on the side of some road one Saturday night, when our parents think we are bowling with our friend’s grandmother.
I was lucky enough to be neglected by my parents, who were completely caught up in their own dramas most of the time. I was smart enough to not get caught, but I did bad almost every day. I also developed a conscience, felt guilty, embarrassed and ashamed of myself for behaving as I knew I wasn’t supposed to behave. I had a couple of close calls which slowed me down for about ten minutes, but sneaking around and being a delinquent was fun. I got away with stuff.
Naturally ‘it takes one to know one,’ so my students knew who they were looking at in front of my classroom, which is why I often put them in groups, so they could check out each other instead. They trusted me to know I cared about them as individuals, and never wavered from that belief. For me, it’s still all about the kid.
Memories of class fun with kids came up today, because of contrast. I generally don’t have that much fun with adults. I worked in a box with children, so my adult times were few and far between, the way I still prefer it. Anyone who has ever been to a teacher’s meeting knows exactly what I mean about difficult people ( teachers) all lumped unhappily into the school library after a very long day with youth trying to get something accomplished. It’s a miracle things do move forward.
This blog is about how difficult it is for me to get along with adults. I still don’t trust adults like I trust kids. I feel as if there are skills I missed when it comes to stuff like interpreting adult innuendo and backstabbing. If I rely on my patience and good listening skills when dealing with my peers, things go better. I realize that, like children, adults are also preoccupied. We are often not mentally present during a conversation. I have taught myself the social skill of deflection, and things go better. Take the focus off of me.
I don’t expect people to really care about what I’m doing or how I feel about something. I will still be me, and will continue on my way regardless of any type of adult interaction. Thank God my own grown sons somehow learned how to grow up and learn to manage adults. They cope better with them than me, and they know what’s going on.
I feel grateful for having had a career working with emerging adults. I provided a type of teaching that was about relationships, not about controlling them. I gave up trying to control students long ago because it doesn’t work. It was more effective to guide and anticipate their learning, watch their enthusiasm as they grow and learn.
When does enthusiasm leave adults? I hope never. Who’s to say where enthusiasm goes, does it hide inside an adult? I hope it turns to art and beauty, we certainly need more more authenticity as adults. It’s never too late to play, and hopefully we’ve become adults with stable hormones.