Chuck's column: It wears you out and keeps you young
There are days I would sell this job for a dime.
I know it's not unlike any other job. We all have our bad days and our good days. I get it. In this job, however, when something happens in one class to rattle our cage, and then we have to quickly adjust to yet another 35 students coming through our portals, and they all have needs ... well, it's just sometimes impossible to catch one's breath on certain days. Some days I sigh about 70 times as they leave the building, and I'm left to pick up the pieces of my mind and shattered nerves.
And I wonder ... was I like this when I was their age and did my teachers silently throw a party on certain days when we left?
Another thought that often crosses my mind is What would I be like had I chosen another career? I've said it time and time again. This job has given me a head of gray hairs while keeping me young at the same time.
What if I had decided to teach elementary school kids? I always felt I would have been so distracted by how cute they are, I never would have gotten a thing done. I've had enough nieces and nephews over the years to know kids at that age are too adorable to teach.
Then there's the middle school beast. Could I have been a teacher at that level? My answer has always been a loud, thunderous NO! As I've grown older and my patience has grown thin, I know now more than ever, I never would have had a successful career at that level. I'm certain they would have driven me insane.
Then there's the high school level. In the course of the year, I teach freshmen through seniors, so I taste the waters of all levels at some point in the year. In the spring, I get freshmen in Honors English Nine. They're usually a blast. They've lived through six months of high school before landing in my lap, and they know the ropes. I've always believed the mind of the freshman is still flexible enough to be molded. Their energy level is such you have little choice but to keep pace with them.
I teach sophomores all year. The sophomore is an interesting animal. They're no longer freshmen, so that makes them somewhat high and mighty. However, they long to be juniors and seniors, and that can make them a tad difficult. Then there's the ever-famous driver's license. If kids focused on the classroom as much as they focus on that little driver's manual, we'd rock the world with test scores. The driver's license is sometimes more than a license to drive. I've seen the most extreme changes occur in a student between the sophomore and the junior year because, during that summer, the almighty car key opens a world previously unattainable to them. Just sayin'.
Then the senior. Their minds are less pliable. Attitudes have been formed by now and, understandably, they're chomping at the bit for more freedom. However, many are still trying to suck in the benefits their final year in their four-year home has to offer. Sitting with these kids and talking with them about the then, now and the future can be very enjoyable. I tend to treat them as mini-adults, and that's sort of refreshing to be able to do in this job.
A mixed blessing. They age ya and they "youth" ya. Whatchya gonna do?
Play a video game and then take a nap. Problem solved.
See you next week.