So there I am…. Eleven year old me is punching a kid named Joshua because his brother was beating up my brother. It’s the first time I ever took a punch and the last time. It’s also the last time I ever threw a punch. Both the taking and the throwing hurt quite a bit, knuckle on skull is quite like punching a wooden board.
One of the daycare supervisors comes over and separates us and of course I explain my story about how I threw this kid’s brother off of my brother and he came over and assaulted me. This had been an ongoing occurance for sevearl months. The adult turns to me and says, “you can’t defend your brother. He has to learn how to defend himself and boys will be boys.”
This felt very unnatural to me of course because my brother is my life blood. My family is the only thing of real value to me. Yet here was this adult telling me a different set of rules I was to go by. I was raised to have respect for authority so when an adult tells me something, I felt like it was the law. As punishment, I was sent to sit out in the sun by the playground gate for three hours on the concrete sidewalk. None of the childcare providers at that daycare ever did anything to break up any of the fights as I thought they believed little boys fighting was part of a social right of passage or something. Later, my brother had to have surgery on his nose from all the punches he took.
You see, the word ADULT meant something to me back then because I thought that age automatically meant that the person knew what they were doing or saying and that adults were never wrong.
When I think back to that incident years later, it occurs to me that I was being supervised, looked after, and guided by a 20 year old. What the f*ck do they know?! Nothing but to a kid, you think they know everything. This thought now terrifies me.
I see this even more so now after having gone through college and graduate school and now am friends with people who have become teachers themselves. You sit in the classroom, thinking that you’re getting an education from someone who knows what they’re talking about or that you can trust them to truly educate you.
This is NOT the case. I good majority of teachers as it turns out are people who you had absolutely no respect for in college, the guys and girls who barely made it out and couldn’t find anything to specialize in… and yes, gross generalization. I KNOW there are GOOD teachers out there but in retrospect, I encountered so few of them growing up. Case in point, my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Castillo who was furious at me for learning how to shortcut fraction multiplications on my own and trying to teach my friends a concept she could not figure out herself even after she asked me to prove it on the board. Or the 8th grade math teacher who taught the entire class that scalene triangle had equal sides.
Yes, humans are prone to mistakes but knowing what I know now, I can’t help but be a bit horrified at how much faith I put into “adults”…considering I’m looking at my “peers” now and realizing THESE are the “adults” I used to look up to and admire.
PS. Don’t scoff at that t-shirt. Almost all the people I know who became teachers cited at least two of those reasons. And NONE of them ever cited a passion for teaching to be a reason.
PPS. Most of this has been spurred on by a number of people I know who have children actually. It’s just an observation I’ve had of seeing some of the most WTF people go on to give birth to another human being of which they are raising and guiding into future humans. I don’t even feel qualified myself to be called an Adult but apparently, as it turns out, there isn’t much qualification for that after all. Not only that but this is rather a moot point now as the culture has shifted. Adults have lost that respect from children in this last decade. I wonder why?