Friday, December 16, 2011
122 Teenagers and Me
On some days, it's hard to be a high school teacher.
There's a few reasons for this.
The first reason is the one that comes from my frustrations, my inadequacies, the 'bad Christie' side of my brain. And the reason is this: it's really, really hard to be the most mature person in the room all day, every day. Especially when one's 'co-workers' are hormonal, foul-mouthed, and tired teenagers. (It doesn't help that by nature I am three of those four things as well.) Some days it's really hard to stick up for the student the others are bad-mouthing, because everything they might say is true. Some days it's really hard not to point out the correlation between their awful behavior and their insecurities. Some days it's easier to take my frustrations out on them, like they do to me. Some days it's challenging not to reciprocate the sarcasm. (And some days I fail.) It's hard to be a high school teacher on those days.
But the second is that I love hormonal, foul-mouthed, and tired people. And the fact that the ones I work with every day are teenagers makes it hard to show that love. When bad news just bursts out of their mouths because they need to tell someone, I can't hug them like I would my own baby when he was crying. When they tell me they've never gotten anything they really wanted for Christmas, I can't buy them an Xbox, a car, or more time with their parents. Some class periods I cannot give enough attention to all the kids who so desperately need and want it from me and I feel like a person being pulled from all sides. When I see them hurting, some days I wish I was teaching kindergarten, not high school, and then I could hug them and hold them and wipe their tears. It's hard to be a high school teacher on those days.
The past few months have been the kind during which I felt a disconnect between what I knew was true (I am grateful for my job) and what I felt was true (but I am going to lose my mind if I have to go to first period for one more day). Thank God (seriously, I'm thanking God here - I've been in prayer about this) I have finished the school days for the past few weeks with an attitude of satisfaction. I can really feel my whole attitude has changed - my joy has been restored here.
Hopefully my incredibly honest post has not offended you, and if you have children in school, I'm sure your teachers are never thinking these things about your child.