By John Gardner
Do students see teachers as real people? I’ve seen posts and heard student comments about the weirdness of seeing a certain teacher at the grocery or department store or in a restaurant. For some, seeing that homework-assigning, discipline-distributing, command-issuing government employee from the mandatory classroom changing a flat tire, cutting grass, experiencing pain or tragedy, showing emotion or some other evidence of humanity is just plain “creepy”.
Creepy is official teen talk, by the way.
Teens see people over twenty as aging, if not old. Twenty-five is close to historic and anyone past thirty is, well, old enough for grandparent or senior status. Teen girls, no doubt, experience unsolicited, unwanted, inappropriate comments and advances by online creepers.
Yet knowing that, as a teacher over 3x their age, I enjoy (please don’t tell me if I’m wrong) a fantastic relationship with the teens I am around. Most give me more than the obligatory student response to a teacher command. I respect them and love their youthful enthusiasm and it could be their ability to sense that which moves them somewhere past polite and even into comfortable talking to this elder. Yes, some of them would still call it borderline creepy if I were to offer transportation to a walking-in-the-rain teen, but overall, unless I am completely be-fooled, I think I have earned okay status.
To those born to teenage parents who were born to teenage parents, I may be older than some of their grandparents. I have, in fact, been called “G-pa” (as well as G, Mr. G, G-man, G-ster, G-dog and more).
So, the question is, when I periodically see a post or hear a comment that goes something like… (not directed at me, I trust)
“You’re old enough to be my dad….don’t talk to me.”
….do teens really see teachers, at any age, in a non-humanistic way?
Enlighten me, please….and thanks for reading.
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