I'm realizing more and more that I am beginning to slowly stop writing. I make excuses such as, "I don't have time," [don't we all], and, "I have nothing to write about." However, if my professors taught me nothing it else it was to KEEP WRITING even when the well has seemingly run dry. I know that just because I have ceased writing does not mean I have ceased to be a writer...it merely means I have stopped writing. And as far as not having anything to write about...pshhh...who am I kidding-- I have more thoughts rumbling around in my head then I can even begin to sift through and that is probably more of the problem.
So briefly today, before I pack a small bag and head to Kali and Dan's to help them pack up [Yep, I didn't have school again today...all week. Monday is going to be a drag, huh?!], I want to write about one thing that I have processed over the last couple of days.
I can't quite figure out why I'm struggling so much with the 8th graders. Do I feel like I'm a good teacher? Yes. Do I feel like I have control of the classroom? In most situations. Do I feel like the state of Kentucky and all the standards they put on what I can and cannot teach are affecting my ability to be a better teacher? Yes [and that should probably be another post entirely]. But there is something in my gut that I feel is holding me back in some way.
I had a good conversation with a friend recently and he reminded me of a truth that I needed to hear again. He said, "Kelsey, so much of what is going to happen in your classroom this year was determined before you ever set foot in there. The combination of kids and their personalities and what they already know and don't know have determined way more than you need to feel like you have to hold yourself accountable to." Very valid point. A good reminder. But then I started talking...and talking...and talking....and this is what came out:
These kids are from a different time than me. I felt like I would still sort of be a part of their generation and be able to relate to them and understand what they are going through. This is not the case. I feel so removed from the society that they are a part of and the culture that consumes them. These "kids" come into school in the morning with lattes from the Starbucks down the street and Coach purses slung over their shoulders. Since it is strictly a middle school [6-8th], the 8th graders have a sense of seniority, yet the maturity of 12/13 year olds to handle it. On top of this, the science teacher has coined a phrase that works when he said they have, "Sexual Terrets." Yes, 8th graders have always been known to reach a new height in hormonal craziness, but when I was in school the majority of kids weren't acting on it. These kids have seen and done more things...
They also ALL have cellphones. Now, are cellphones inherently evil? Most of you probably will answer no...I say no with reservations. Cellphones, in my humble opinion, have thrown these kids to the wolves [along with myspace and etc. etc.]. However, what I'm beginning to see is that parents are becoming less and less involved in their kids' lives because, "well, if they get in trouble they have a cell phone so they can just call me." What ever happened to the parents questioning, "Who? What? When? Where? Why?" Parents have let cellphones be the parents and have lost communication with their children.
Okay...so how does all of this ranting a raving tie back to me as a teacher? Well, I think that as I'm entering "adulthood" here in full force, I am overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities that come with it. I miss home, I miss college, and now that I'm back in the classroom, I miss Junior High. I think back and realize these were much, much simpler times. Yet, I look out at my students and I see them yearning, acting, aching, to be older, to be on their own. I just want to scream at them, "You're just a kid! Be a kid!!! Go play in the rain! Go have a sleepover! Watch cartoons while you still can!"
I know I was much the same way when I was in the 8th grade [my mother can attest to it, I'm sure]. And I have to remind myself that it comes with the age and the place they are in life. I just feel like it has been multiplied by the culture they live in, and I think because I'm wrestling with my new role in life as an adult, it makes me more "bitter" about it.
Whew. That was a mouthful. It's just me processing all of this. But like I said before, please don't take this the wrong way and think that I am hating everything...not at all. Questioning my place as an 8th grade teacher in a city? Absolutely. But ultimately I know that God has placed me here for a season, however long that may be. I want to be faithful with that, and I want to love my students with His love, even if they resist me.