Friday, December 5, 2008

moments in teaching

Occasionally I'll walk by my 12th grade class on my way to the copy room or another campus errand and a few students will be in there hanging out or napping. I'm not really sure where they are supposed to be (probably PE or something) but I usually stop by and chat with them.

They always want to chat during class, most likely so they don't have to actually do work, but when I talk to them outside of class they are much more willing to open up to me. So I stopped by the other afternoon and there were four students in the classroom talking with each other. They feel pretty comfortable with me because deep down I think they consider me "one of them". I haven't told them how old I am but most of them have guessed my age exactly, and if they don't know it for sure they know that I'm at least pretty close to their age.

We started talking about relationships and breaking up. Sometimes I forget how serious everything seemed in high school, though suppose everything seems serious when it's happening to you, no matter how old you are. I contributed a little to the conversation, but I mostly wanted to hear their perspectives on life and love.

One of the boys initiated a discussion of how it's sometimes a relief to end a relationship, especially if your significant other isn't supportive of you or is extremely jealous or stifling to you in any way. But then that relief eventually dies away and is replaced by a sense of mourning for what you lost.

So I asked him, "Well, so, did it make you sad to end the relationship?"

"No, not sad really." He thought a little before he added, "There's no point in being sad. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad, I'd rather be happy."

I was taken aback by this. I know people my parent's age who still haven't made that realization despite all their life experiences. Sadness and happiness is a choice we make. Sometimes we cannot choose our life situations, we don't choose to be laid off work or to lose someone that is close to us, but we can choose how we react to those situations. And if my 17 year old Turkish student can understand that, well, that gives me a glimmer of hope for the human race.

I told him he was very wise for his age, to which he ironically asked, "Wise? What does 'wise' mean?"

1 comment:

Andy said...

Hahahahahaha... THe punchline was the best part of the story.