I really like the Professor so far, she has been teaching for upwards of 30 years and has been a high school psychologist for the past 15 years so she Knows. Her. Shit. Plus she's engaging, funny and warm - all very good qualities for a college professor! Yesterday we watched about 50 minutes of the documentary film, American Teen and then talked about the issues the kids in the movie were facing. (Great movie, put it on your Netflix list!)
Before watching the movie we talked about teaching in general, she shared some stories and talked about what we would be covering over the quarter. One thing she is emphasizing is having us think about what our own teenage experience was and making sure we don't project it onto the kids we will (hopefully) be teaching in the future. She said it was something she has seen teachers and administrators do time and time again so she wants to help us avoid falling into that trap.
Now I was a teenager more than a few years ago and because my own kids are teens (or close to it) I thought that rather than projecting my own teen experiences onto my students, I might have trouble projecting my kids experiences - they are, after all, much more fresh in my mind. But as we watched the movie, my biggest problem was with the PARENTS. All four kids they were following had parents that made me want to bitch-slap them at one point or another. One girl was doing shots of tequila with her friends in her BEDROOM with no sign of parents anywhere, another boy's father was discouraging him going to college if he didn't get a basketball scholarship and on and on. I realized that when I start teaching, I will need to be very aware that my own parenting is not something that I can project onto other people and be careful not to judge other parents for doing things differently than I would.
All parents judge other parents for doing things differently than they would do themselves, I think it's human nature, but when you are a teacher this can be problematic and get in the way of helping your students. Or can it? My Professor said it is something she has grappled with in her years of teaching and if you are aware of it, it doesn't become an issue. But how can I teach kids when I think their parents are complete and total morons who are making things worse, not better?
I hope there is a class in Dealing With the Parents in the Master's of Education program I'm applying for.