What To Say?

Have you ever wondered why people just assume things occur…without really ever thinking about it? This generation seems to be so focused on the here and now that they have no interest in the historical events that shaped their life. The Declaration of Independence is deemed irrelevant, the American Revolution is boring, and the origins of holidays no longer hold any kind of significance. These are questions that I ask myself every day. Don’t these children realize that through the past can we understand the future…and that the only way we, as the human race, could ever hope to survive in the long run is by understanding the catastrophic flaws made by others in the past?

I eventually just had to say to myself: “Dave, do you really want to be the blame for the ignorance that these children exhibit? You’re their teacher for god’s sake!” I would always blame the fact that they wouldn’t listen on their age—a teenagers mind is about as easy to craft as liquid, you try and try to get your hands around them but they keep slipping through. So my conclusion was quite simple really: do something that will grab their miniscule attention spans by the haunches and rear them towards me. But what to do? What to say? I’ve been sitting at my desk since six AM asking myself the same question…over and over and over again: What to say?

Its eight now and the kids should be filing in at any time. I can hear them in the hallways, the excitement from the weekend’s events quickly fading from their minds as the new-week effect begins to take over. They’ll come in as they always do, talking amongst themselves in downtrodden tones and complaining of the approaching week with little hope, throwing me the occasional look that makes me feel more like a jail keeper than an educator. “What to say?” I ask to the empty classroom, hoping for an answer but knowing I will never receive one. For a split second I close my eyes, and upon reopening them I come to find that my class is half-full. The lesson will soon need to be taught. What to say….what to say…what to say.
I smile to myself. Teaching has been my life for five years now, and for the past three I’ve done the same exact thing every single morning…hoping for another answer to come to me. None ever have. In order for a student to truly understand the past, they must understand the present, however these kids are undeveloped…far too young to grasp what is going on around them. Being a teenager is about unaware…growing and evolving. I must have patience; for I know that one day they will shed their coats of ignorance and evolve into what I know they are capable of being. One day I’ll know what to say.





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