Ahh, the gold ole’ days, right? The days when men took off their hats inside, and hoodies weren’t even invented yet. Where students were polite to their teachers and streets were clean. Not like today, right?
Nah. That’s what I say to that. Nah.
I believe that’s all a fallacy, a trick the mind plays about the past. I don’t think the golden, idyllic past existed. I think teachers could use rulers on small kids and whatever tactics of emotional warfare they wanted and that most of the problem kids were denied access to education.
If you had ever walked into my class, you would have seen and heard some things. God, if you ever stood in the hallways during class passing time. (They seem to think it’s a magical time where the adults no longer exist and we can’t hear them. But we can, oh we can.)
The fact of the matter is, teenagers are:
Boisterous: They don’t sit quietly. They’ll talk and talk, move around the room, tap anxiety riddled movements out on their desk, and my most favorite, shadow box. In the hallways, the cafeteria, during class while I’m trying to teach. Every single time, if allowed to go on, it doesn’t end well.
Can we just remember for a moment, they are kids.
Bold: They talk about sex. They are having sex. If they are not, they talk about it even more and in even more detail. They’ll say it when they know I can hear.
And they stand up for themselves. If you have done something to offend them they wont stay shut about it.
Blatant: They will tell you if you look like shit that day. They will tell you if they think you are a terrible teacher and they don’t know how you ever even got your license to teach.
They’ll tell you most things honestly. They’ll be upfront. And if you listen, you can learn something.
I don’t know if people behaved that way fifty decades ago. I wasn’t there. And if you were there, you have only one skewed perspective on things.
I know you left school younger in the past. I also know if you cut up once, twice, maybe a dozen times, you were booted. If you became pregnant, you were kicked out. I’m not even going to begin to talk about what happened if you had a learning disability or a health problem. In the mythical golden past if you didn’t fit, you didn’t graduate and you dropped out or were kicked out and then you worked in a factory. And then factories moved down south then over seas and more and more is now done with machines. So times have changed. But have people fundamentally changed? I doubt it.
And I revere the boisterous, bold, and blatant students I have worked with. I admire them. I wanted, and still do want, to teach the angry teen that cusses me out and starts brawls and just doesn’t seem to care.
If that’s something you can’t get behind, don’t become a teacher or work anywhere near a school. Please. Do us all that favor.