What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Playing Teacher

One issue that I have been confronted with lately, or at least the past couple of years, is how to be myself around high school kids who I am supposed to be a role model to. Some good advise that has served me well has been that in a classroom if you try to b e anything other than yourself then you will come off as fake and the kids will see straight through you. I have found this to be true. But then there presents a different, more complex problem.

When I was in college I really felt that I discovered who I was. I learned how to behave in a way that endeared me to others, and I felt good about myself. I tried not to take myself too seriously, but I took my relationships with others very seriously. I could be silly, serious about certain subjects and you could love me and hate me all at the same time. I was very comfortable with this. I still am.

The problem is the seemingly contradictory advise I get on the subject of being one's self to his students. I'm told, "You have to be strict, be the adult, don't let them see you as one of them, or else they won't respect you." But I feel like one of them sometimes more than I feel like a teacher. This doesn't mean that I want to go out and do the dumb stuff they do, or that I care about the petty problems that they freak out over. But, there is a portion, especially in my theatre classes that I relate to more. I understand them and what they're thinking and I hardly ever understand what other teachers are thinking. I think I'm more specifically referring to those students who I see myself in. Or that I think if they were my age, or vice versa, we might hang out. Certainly there are students who might as well have come from outerspace, so I am being too general. But I still want to be myself around them regardless. I enjoy my work more when I'm not playing teacher. Because when I move into, "sit down, do your work, no you can't go to the bathroom" mode I feel like I'm playing. That's not what the real me would say. I've never really been one to care what other people were doing so long as it didn't bother me or you weren't a close friend. My attitude toward students most of the time is, "please do this right so that I don't have to play teacher." What I really want to say is, "Hey, if you don't do your work, that's your funeral." "Go to the bathroom. I don't care." "You're finished? Great, go home."

But this is public high school. I have to play teacher. I guess that's what's called doing your job.

I'm not going to be at school but one day this week because of UIL and Godspell. While this makes me extremely happy, I'm afraid my kids aren't going to recognize me after a while, because I'm gone so much.

1 comment:

ML said...

They will appreciate you when you come back because no sub can do the class like the 'real thing'. I know that because of my experience with being out and kids being so happy to see me when I come back. -- I have to admit that I have at times told a kid or two, "okay, you want to be here with me next year? keep on the way you are and you will be." But the truth is..you're and actor..so ACT like a teacher when you must. I have actually told my kids, "Look, behave today because I hate writiing you up. Not because it hurts my feelings, but because it is so much trouble to me. So please, be good!" Does it work? Na, not really. ;-/ Hang in there, Kyle. You are doing just fine.