I had an interesting conversation yesterday with someone from the one dance place I’m still attending regularly; I’ll call her 2M1207. We had never talked about my work until yesterday, and she was interested to hear some of my thoughts about being a teacher. I said something I’ve said often before: 7th grade is both the best and the worst age to teach. You have the nice kids from stable homes, who are just starting to emerge into maturity but are still childlike enough to give me the fun of working with children. And then you have the angry tough kids from broken homes, who are at the height of defiance and have not yet been humbled by harsh reality. In my current position, I have a lot more of the first type than the second, at least compared to the other school where I once taught 7th grade.
Regarding that second group of students, the ones I referred to 2M1207 said, “It’s hard being angry and feeling like there’s nothing you can do about it.”
That statement really hit me. Because it sounds a lot like me. But not about school. I know the feeling of being angry and feeling helpless. That’s how I feel about a lot of things in the world right now. The world is really messed up, and it doesn’t make sense to me, and it often feels like I am out of options.
Of course, there are options. I just don’t always see them right away, because they require thinking outside the box, trying something different than what I have always done before. And the same can be applied to the angry students I come across. There is help for them, but they have to think outside the box… and I may need to also in order to understand completely where they are coming from.
I don’t know if my conversation with 2M1207 will help me out of my anger at the world, but hopefully this perspective will help me in my next interaction with an angry student.