Lessons in Teaching

teacher-crush

I’ve started substitute teaching every other Friday while I finish up my teaching certification, and I already feel like I have some battle scars. Little kids say adorable things, but young adults say deplorable things.

A few weeks ago, I observed a 9th grade math class. I started talking to one of the boys near my desk in the brief moments before the bell rang. I don’t remember what we discussed, but I must have made some kind of impression because thirty seconds later, he asked me, “Are you sure you want to be a teacher? You seem too smart to be a teacher.”

It’s exactly this stereotype of teaching being a “less than” career option that made God have to spend 7 years humbling me in Corporate America before I would consider investing in young lives through teaching.

In another classroom, one of the boys called out in the middle of a lesson, “Did you just graduate from college? You look like you’re still in high school!” They thought I was 21 and were shocked to learn I am 29. Me too, kid. Me, too.

Evidently the physical appearance of a mere 5 year age gap was acceptable because, armed with the knowledge of my ancient-ness, one of the sophomore running backs promptly invited me to his Homecoming football game later that night. I politely declined.

Then last week, my 8th grade math class found out that I already participated in early voting and wanted to know which presidential candidate I voted for. I decided it was wisest not to answer. Unfortunately, this meant speculation from the students.

A chunky Hispanic boy called out, “I bet she voted for Hillary because she’s a woman!”

A skinny African American boy countered loudly, “No, I bet she voted for Trump because she’s white!”

Telling the story to a friend later, I commented that I’m glad their political views will mature as they age to consist of more than simply a basis in race and gender. Then I realized, to my horror and dismay, that not much about their political views will change in the next thirty years. Just look at our adult population.

Authentically Aurora

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12 thoughts on “Lessons in Teaching

  1. Oh, middle schoolers, tweens! Are you sure you don’t want some first graders? They’re sweet! 🙂

    Poor kids, this election is really messing with them. It’s messing with us all,but they haven’t got the wisdom to defend themselves. I’ve spent some time trying to reassure kids, no we’re not going to war with Russia, no, society is not collapsing,no the US is not about to descend into a race war. We grown ups have really been scaring them and I think that’s unfortunate.

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    • Haha… I started out wanting to teach high school, and my desired age group has progressively gotten younger and younger. I’d like to be able to have deep, meaningful conversations with my students, so I don’t want to go too young, but man! These tweens are tough to reach!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds as if they are testing you, checking to see if you want to teach and mentor them or want to be their friend. I’m sorry that you’re being hit with some of the “those that can’t do teach” stereotypes already. I know that you are going to be great in the classroom because you have knowledge of the subject matter and compassion for the students–the two highest qualifications for teaching. J.

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    • Thanks, J! You’re always so encouraging. I definitely want to be a mentor/teacher who is liked, respected and trusted like an older, wiser friend… but a teacher first; friend second. Hopefully I am presented with an opportunity at a school for the right age group, subject matter and a great administration. 🙂

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      • You left out parents who support the school in its labor to educate their children. I have known teachers who loved teaching children but resented administrators and parents for their interference. May the Lord spare you those challenges… or give you the strength to endure them and grow stronger through them. J.

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  3. Unfortunately it is usually adult views that are mirrored in the children. Even if just one child’s views change for the better in your classroom, you will feel that you have succeeded into making them good, fair, honorable citizens. Teaching is great, most of the time!! 🙂 Good luck in your new venture!

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