Some days working with teenagers invigorates me and creates a sense of energy that I can use to get through several days, other times working with teenagers drains me of the energy I had to make it to the next day, leaving exhausted for days on end. Every day working with teenagers I learn something about them, myself, and the world.
High school students have a unique perspective on what is happening in the world, their lives, the classroom, and even, yes, their teachers’ lives. They bring such a different look into what is going on. Today my students are doing Monday Matters (yep on a Tuesday), which is a Rhetorical Précis on a current event (no more than 2 weeks old). This is our first go round so we are spending time on getting the formatting right, and the understanding of how to write in a structured paragraph form…and yet they are worried about font size, my last name, and how to figure out which article to use. Never mind italicizing the name of the publication, or quoting the title of the article, or actually citing an author, no, they want to focus on the mundane things.
They are also easily distracted. My last name is Ms. Shaw. Today they couldn’t decide if that should be Mrs. or not. It shouldn’t. However, I am married, so they were highly confused and we had to have a quick diversion conversation around my last name vs my husband’s last name. Fortunately, I am use to them, so they still had to get their paragraphs done.
Sometimes I feel like I am herding cats, other times it feels like tortoise races. As I sit to grade these paragraphs tonight I know that, despite the time I spent in class talking, working, and helping each individual student, they will still need work, they will not be clean and neat like I am hoping. I also know, that this is a process that will only help them in the long run. Even if it is herding cats, I know that they will be better writers, better rhetoricians, and better members of society. For, if nothing else, they will have current events in their store of things to pull from.
Sage, quartz and a creative energy pulse or two will also be in order so that I don’t get frustrated, angry, or give up while doing it. No matter how much energy I put into the teaching and instructing, if they aren’t open to it, they won’t listen. This is something I have to remind myself often, as I want them to want to learn.