Friday, 23 March 2012

Teenage Kicks


Following on from yesterday's slightly whingey tired post, I am still utterly shattered, but feeling slightly more philosophical about it.

I've found today quite wearing. Teaching English is wonderful, but it's also a subject that a significant number of students face challenges in, particularly as it has reading, writing and understanding at its heart. I also have high standards in my classroom. This means that I must say: "Put your gum in the bin", "Sit on your chair properly", "Turn around" - and other such trite gubbins, hundreds of times in a week. I bore myself.

I am unflinching in my pedagogical zeal though, as I firmly believe that kids need (and like) consistency. I tell the younger students I have a secret career in the 'Chewing Gum Police', and I've been trained to spot the sticky stuff from a thousand yards. I swear some of them believe me, and for this I love them.

And that's the fundamental thing: I do love my job. I like spending my days with the angst-ridden, hormone-addled, sometimes recalcitrant, stunningly simple and massively complex beasties that are teenagers. They make me laugh; they sometimes make me cry; they make me feel I have a purpose and I do something valuable with my life. I spend more time with them than I do my own little person.

My pet baby will (worryingly) soon join the ranks of anguished adolescents. Naively perhaps, I hope my years in the classroom may give me some sort of preparation as to how to deal with him. In reality, I'm pretty terrified. I'll be mortified if he's rude to his teachers, or inconsiderate of others. Our two slightly unhinged and out-of-control cats do not bode well in the parenting stakes...

After a long, unseasonably warm day of controlled assessments, exam preparation, and some post-parents' evening 'digging-deep', the boy, lovely lift-share friend and I hit the beer garden of our local to catch the last few rays of spring sunshine. Dexter had already been to the park with nursery, so I didn't feel too guilty that we didn't hit the local swings. Besides, he quite enjoyed chomping on the pub's sweet potato chips and garlic mayo.

Today's #366 photo was taken after he'd had his proper tea at home. I think it captures a flash of slight obstinance - possibly a sign of the perhaps more challenging years ahead.

Or perhaps he's just transfixed by the bonkers cats...

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