John Here: 24 years is a long time. Compared to a historian’s view of time, 24 years is a short time but going to the same place every day for 24 years can be classified, I think, as a long time. I’m starting year number 24 at my high school. If you knew my school you might say that 24 years should qualify as 48 years. My school can be described as “inner city” or “urban”. I prefer to think of it as just school. We have all the issues that an inner city school has, poverty, family dysfunction, gangs, you can read about in the newspaper I suppose (if anyone still does that), yet my kids are some of the nicest, most resilient, good people I have ever met. It’s a unique place and there are challenges, it is not an easy place to teach yet I’m still here. Some people might think my kids are different somehow. They may have different issues than I did growing up for sure, but a teenager is a teenager and teenagers are, if you observe them long enough, hysterically funny. The trick is remembering that you were once one of them and you were no different than they are. Insecure, goofy, trying to be cool, trying to figure out the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter), wondering when this endless class will be over so I can just hang out with my friends because that is all I really ever want to do, what is the point of finding X, I will never use any of this, why are we even bothering to study this since someone else already figured it out anyway? These are the some of the burning issues we all had as teenagers and today’s teenagers are no different than we were. It doesn’t matter where they’re from or who they are, they are all basically the same. As we roll into another school year I realize that I really like this place. Now I just wonder what my classroom looks like after no supervision for a summer.
This is what I walked into. Not bad at all compared to some years. (You know exactly what I’m talking about).
Now to the untrained eye it may look like there is not much difference and you’re probably right, you just have to see it in person.
I’m lucky I haven’t gone to work for the last 24 years; I’ve gone to school every day. It’s a nice way to look at things, don’t you think?
BTW – On the first day of school let them sit where they want to. They will think “this is the greatest class ever”. Meanwhile note who is dying to sit together and do nothing but talk (don’t worry they won’t talk too much the first day, they’re in shock just like you at being back at school). Then, on the second day, give them the seating chart and put the kids that couldn’t wait to sit together AS FAR APART AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. You will be glad you did. You can thank me later.