The thing about teaching in a junior high/high school setting is that it means that you are somewhat permanently stuck in high school. Of course, I have my theories about how we never really leave that mindset (you should talk to my grandma at the assisted living center), but there is just something about finding yourself in the drama day in and day out as an adult. If you are lucky enough, you are in it and not of it thankfully. But it just can't help but bring back how you felt about high school. I've mentioned before that high school was not the time of my life. I didn't suffer, it hasn't scarred me for life or anything, but it wasn't golden. I know for some people it really is. Some even camp there the rest of their lives, clutching their "glory days" with all they have. My experiences in high school were kind of removed from where I went because my closest friends went somewhere else for the most part. I was the girl who people didn't really have a problem with (except when I ran my mouth), but who didn't get invited to the parties either. I just didn't really know who I was yet. My identity was wrapped up in the people around me, and it wasn't until I was much older that I started to really be who I was meant to be. (Some days, that's still an issue.)
I say all that to say this: High school is hard. I think when we get removed from it and we are likely to say, "Oh, they don't know how good they have it." And, mostly they don't. All I wanted was to be a grown up and now I would gladly go back to a time when there weren't bills to pay and responsibilities calling. But, I think we (as adults) also have to remember that even if these dramas seem silly to us, they are very real to people living them. When you are breaking up with your first serious boyfriend or fighting with your friend, it hurts. And that's probably because it's the first taste of "the real world." Those high school experiences are the first time we faced betrayal or making the right decision even if it's the hard one. And that seems like a very big deal at the time. Who am I kidding? It still seems awfully big now and I'm well past those times. And that's not even considering that some of these kids are facing things they aren't sharing, like absentee parents and pressures to look and feel and be a certain way.
Every day, I see a couple hundred faces in the halls and I wonder what will become of them. Perhaps I should be worrying a little more about who they are now and what I can do to help.