Teenagers are simply quite astute, though they rarely get credit for it. In fact, because they are also often snarky–sometimes in a playful way, sometimes in a nasty way–they often get in trouble for it. If we, as adults and educators, can think back to our own days as students, we can read the following memes with knowing mirth, even though it frustrates us that teachers still do this. What’s worse, teachers do this and frequently do not have it addressed in their reviews, despite the ridiculous number of man-hours that go into teacher reviews and portfolio construction.
Many of us know we did things like this when we first started out, but the better teachers evolve and grow beyond certain stereotypical teacher-student relationships that have encapsulated so many of our own experiences and sometimes seem exist in the very walls of our teaching institutions. Breaking free from the world of double-standards (no drinks in my classroom, but I have a Starbucks every day), superiority complexes (you came to the right conclusion, but by the wrong means), and illogical twists (tardiness will not be tolerated, but I may keep you 5 minutes late) that seem to be inherent in the us vs. them world of standard education is probably more difficult than most people realize because of convenience and ease in a difficult field. But, it does not make it just and it does not make it easier for the students, nor can it be argued away by, “I survived it, so can they,” because education is not a hazing for initiates to adulthood–at least, it shouldn’t be.
Honest reflection on some these is probably a healthful dose of reality for many of us educators. We may never be perfect, but we can always be better! Enjoy!
Keep it real, Teach, keep it real.