You’re not the boss of me
Although the time I spent teaching high school was amazing and fulfilling and totally enlightening, sometimes I still have nightmares about standing in front of a class full of high school freshmen who have just totally refused to read/participate/complete whatever assignment I’ve just handed them. The dream scene definitely rivals the real-life scenario, and that feeling– the you’re soooooo not in charge anymore feeling–paralyzes me every time.
I suppose I assumed that my experience working with teenagers (and, um, being a teenager :)) had totally prepared me for the inevitable push-back from my own little toddler-teacher– and I guess that, in many ways, it has. But today, when she threw down her cup, knocked the plastic dish of Cheerios of my hand, and proceeded to climb the entertainment center for the hundredth time, I immediately developed a familiar knot in my stomach. Because the look that accompanied her mini-tantrum? It was definitely the same look that I received, over and over again, from angry/bored/hormonal teenagers who wanted to be anywhere but sitting in my English class.
But this time, somehow, I didn’t freeze. I reminded her– in the steadiest voice I could manage– that climbing the T.V. stand is dangerous and that throwing and hitting are totally unsafe and unacceptable. Then, I attempted to remind myself that this–the icky and uncomfortable and completely age-appropriate resistance–is totally necessary for her development as a well-adjusted and well-mannered member of society. And I think that maybe, finally, I am ready for the lesson that I was too young and inexperienced and insecure to understand when I was teaching: that a little bit of opposition is a gut-check invitation to remember what you believe, where you stand, and what you ultimately want.
And for my
crabby little miracle of a girl? I want it all– even if all requires a few (hundred) tantrums, time-outs, slammed doors, and, later, under-her-breath swears.
Today? I think we covered all of ’em (minus, of course, the swears, although she definitely says “Daddy” pretty forcefully–over and over again– when she’s mad at me). Apparently, the role of good cop has already been assigned.
I guess I didn’t get the part.
Wish me luck :).