It's starting to happen. It happens every year, well every year so far in my teaching career. Teaching 15 year olds is an interesting thing. It causes all ranges of the spectrum of emotion in a normal adult teacher. (Well... if we can call me that) Sometimes they are so dense and oblivious that even if they hit a brick wall they wouldn't notice while other times their innocence exposes their raw goodness that is so sweet it makes a heart melt. So as you can imagine with that type of range of experiences it's not difficult for a teacher to go from pure rage to complete humility in the course of one 80 minute class period.
I think of the book Leadership and Self-Deception where it teaches that viewing a person as a walking, thinking, feeling human being rather than an object changes completely how we treat them.
Well I'll admit when a new batch of 265 annoying and awkward Freshmen walk into my classroom it is difficult to view them as anything beyond stinky, whiny, needy objects that I am responsible for babysitting for 80 minutes 2-3 times a week. I roll my eyes, stomp my feet, and count down the seconds of class more times than I'd like to admit.
There comes a point typically somewhere around or typically before Thanksgiving (usually the whole month of October) that I have no hope. That my career seems desperately miserable and that I am doomed to live a life of figuratively wiping these ignorant objects noses'. Sadly, the visits of students from the past actually dampen my spirits rather than encourage me at this point, because I am so blinded by the annoyance of the objects that I cannot imagine that they could someday grow up into what the visiting students have become, delightful.
But then it happens. I have no idea how it happens. Or why it happens. But oh how I thank the heavens that it does indeed happen. And how I fear that someday I may become so calyst from the month of October that it doesn't. But the objects that I've seen since the beginning of school melt and form into walking breathing little humans that need me. They have feelings. They actually do indeed have brains. And my favorite part, despite popular belief, they are ridiculously funny!
Every year, thankfully, it happens. I absolutely fall in love with my students. It's at this point, and not a moment sooner, that I want to do everything in my power to make them the best, smartest, and wisest little humans I can.
Don't get me wrong. It's not like it's all roses from here on out. Kids are punks. They make mistakes. They whine. They complain. They can't sit still. They are lazy. But at least I see them as kids rather than square boxes.
But honestly, just in time for Christmas, I couldn't ask for a better present.