Chuck's column: Thirty-one yearsYou’ll continue to hear from me that this is my 31st year in the field of education, and it’s also 31 years at RHS. Thirty-one years, frankly, is a long time.
You’ll continue to hear from me that this is my 31st year in the field of education, and it’s also 31 years at RHS. Thirty-one years, frankly, is a long time. It doesn’t really feel 31 years, yet sometimes it really DOES feel like 31 years. By Friday of each week, it especially does.
I always find it interesting people ask me the same question these days. “Have the kids changed?” I always respond with “No. The parents have.” And yes, Moms and Dads, you have. However, that’s another subject for another time.
Kids are always going to be kids. It’s the nature of the beast. The teenage brain can only mature so far in those early years. Consequently, the kids really can’t change from decade to decade. They have to play the hand they’re dealt. Society has changed, and there are many new and different distractions for the students, so it might seem to many like they’ve changed, but from my perspective, the kids are still the same. They’re just kids.
What has changed? When I started teaching, pants needed belts to stay up. One of the most amazing inventions of our time was the “Self-Sustaining Pants.” Pants that needed no belt! Pants that miraculously, somehow, knew to stay above the knees! Simply amazing!
And the music has changed. Another incredibly innovative move in the world of music. Music without a tune. Brilliant. No more needless toe-tapping. Nothing to hum. Simply listen to someone talk-singing lyrics you can’t understand. A delightful change in the arts.
Used to be, kids wore coats and long pants in the winter. Now, as I leave my car and walk towards the building in the dead of January, kids are getting out of vehicles or walking towards the front doors of school, from the EXTERIOR parking lot, mind you, with no jacket and in some cases, wearing shorts. Why didn’t we think of that when we were their age? I remember the method we employed to fake sickness; we’d hold the thermometer over a well-heated light bulb, hoping Mom would see we had a fever when she came in to check our temps. Now, just wear little-to-nothing in below-freezing weather and sooner or later, it’s going to catch up with you and BANG! You’re home sick for a few days. Genius, I tell ya! Genius!
During the Homecoming Dance, I saw many limousines driving up in front of the building and dropping off couples and large groups of people. There was even a “party bus” that pulled up with a bunch of kids who trailed out of it to come into the dance. When I began my teaching career, I think it was 10 years before I even KNEW what a limousine was. And a “party bus?” Enough said.
Finally, the greatest change in my 31 years … you know it as well as anyone … the cell phone. It’s so nice nearly every student has one now. We, as teachers, are thrilled with this invention. And it’s not just a phone anymore, Mom! The fact there are so many activities for the kids nowadays on a cell phone makes the phone a wise and worthy purchase. When the classroom becomes too boring, thank goodness there’s something to keep their minds occupied. I have often wished I had the cell number of each and every student of mine, so I could text them a message regarding the day’s material, so as to not embarrass them during class time in front of their peers.
Have the kids changed? Nah.
Life has. The kids are just trying to keep pace.
So are the teachers. See you next time!