One of my favorite things about being a teacher is doing life with kids. I feel as if I was put on the earth to take part in this grand experiment of helping middle schoolers through what I feel is the most difficult portion of their lives. And doing life with them is how I do it.
What is “doing life”? It’s really simple, going through the daily trials and tribulations of pre-puberty, puberty and post puberty. Or maybe even simpler, I walk beside them and try to feel what they feel (I’m really just a big kid who still doesn’t know what I want to be when I grow up). Need simpler? I do life, what ever that is, without judgement and with empathy.
When they need a cheerleader, I cheer. When they need a laugh, I tell stupid jokes. When they need a push to get started I tell them to stop picking their nose and eating boogers. But most of all, I allow them to get through the day and be a kid, because that is truly the most important thing my students should be.
In today’s world everything is fast forward (I’m still traumatized by all day kindergarten). We forget what it’s like to get home, have dinner at a table with our family and then watch TV (with our family) until it’s time to go to bed (9 pm when I was a kid). And who could forget those special days when, because you were ‘good’, you got a bottle of pop or a handful of penny candy from Murphy’s on the corner.
I miss those days (and my Grandma Murphy) so I try to slow things down, be more like her and let those darn kids do life.
Now that I think about it, maybe I’m not doing life with them…maybe they’re doing life with me.