A note of explanation, Dear Readers: Mama Kat instructed me to write a poem for Prompt #2, but prose seemed more appropriate. As one of our final newspaper deadlines approached, the last page of the newspaper-the one that is called "ETC.," & which contains many random & silly bits-had yet to be put together. Seems like the ETC. Editor had a crisis of some sort & chose to go to lunch instead. So, Mrs. Scribe stepped up & wrote the following. The graphic above, included with the article, was PhotoShopped by one of my cherubs. The photo below, snapped by another intrepid reporter, captures a classic moment on The Couch. Here's to all of y'all who teach on this last day of Teacher Appreciation Week. We all deserve either a bonus or a swift kick to the head...I'm not sure which.
One of my English students asked me a question the other day.
“Mrs. Scribe, why would you ever want to teach high school students?”
I wanted to give her an inspirational response, something about “Helping young minds grow” and “the benefits of a rewarding career.” Instead, though, I told her the truth.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” I said, without hesitation. “But y’all do tend to perturb me from time to time.”
That, and I’m in a unique position, each and every day, to watch the ways in which the teenage mind works.
You see, I’m the school’s Journalism teacher. And as such, I don’t spend a lot of time in the front of the classroom, lecturing my cherubs and stuffing their brains with factoids and finite theorems.
Instead, I get to witness a gradual progression, as my students’ frontal lobes—that part of the brain that controls actions and consequences—mature.
Simply put, my newspaper and yearbook students are “in charge”—although I guide them with a firm hand—and sometimes ceding power to the masses can be a painful experience.
Having teenagers run the show can be enlightening and rewarding. The situation also can also wreak quite a bit of havoc and confusion—and that’s on a good day.
I’m probably stating the obvious here, but the fulcrum upon which the the average high school student’s existence balances is procrastination. We teachers like to think that our students come to school every day for the “learning,” but that’s a somewhat misguided notion.
The kids, for the most part, like coming to school because they get to hang out with their friends. And our students flourish in any situation that will foster social interaction.
Here’s where the Journalism kids come in.
Yes, they have deadlines, and for the most part they meet those deadlines. Yes, they follow a code of ethics and they’ve been trained in the ins and the outs of being good, honest reporters. And yes, they really do work hard—but they are also experts in the fine art of sitting around and doing practically nothing meaningful at all.
The bane of my existence still remains the fact that when teens have the option, they’ll procrastinate, every time.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Journalism office fosters the lethargy and laziness that I so often denounce. The center of my journalistas’ world—the nexus of their nefarious unwillingness (sometimes) to work—is a somewhat dilapidated couch.
My students tend to try to cram as many kids as possible into the couch’s comfy recesses. Then, the rest of them get chairs and pull them up in a circle. I call this the “Kumbaya” Effect.
When the Journalism kids have their “Kumbaya” on, they look like they’re at summer camp. Any minute, I expect them to break into a chorus of that well-known ’60s folk song.
My students tell me, on occasion, that I need to “chill.” They tell me that all work and no play is, well, just that. They tell me not to worry, that everything will “get done.”
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t usually write for the student newspaper. The reason I’m stepping up today is because of the “Kumbaya” Effect. Big-time.