Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How to Be Taken Seriously When You're 30, But You Look Twelve--Chapter One

How to Be Taken Seriously When You're 30, But You Look Twelve

 July 23, 2011

Chapter 1--Are You Old Enough to Be a Teacher?

"Are you even old enough to teach?"  Yes, that is the top question asked by my students' parents when they meet me at Back-to-School Night. 

I want to say, "Nope," and just leave it at that.  "Nope."  Then smile pretty, and walk away.  I mean, really?  What do they expect me to say?  Big surprise though, I pull out my big professional words, give a courteous laugh, and reply, "Haha (insert I-AGREE-THAT'S-FUNNY-SMILE), I am.  I'm 31."  Wait for giant gasp from parent.  "Haha (smile), I get that all the time (smile)." 

I then proceed to convince the other same-age grown-ups that I am, indeed, capable of educating their offspring.  How many years I have been teaching.  Where I went to college.  My Masters in Administration degree.  Military experience. Grew up in New Jersey.  Have an epileptic dog.  I like sauerkraut.  The list goes on.  What information would you like to prove that I am of age? 

Every year since I was a post-college 22-year-old, I have had to validate my ability to teach at my ridiculously young age.  I know I look young.  Very young.  I know I am short.  As short as my 6th-graders.  Actually, shortER than most of my sixth-graders.  I know I look like I am the same age as most middle-schoolers.  But it makes me laugh every year when I am reminded by parents, by friends, by bosses, by other teachers, and by strangers that I look too young to teach.

This year, I believe I will wear a T-shirt to Middle School Back-to-School Night.  On it will be displayed the obvious information needed to prove myself.

"Ask my principal if she hired any teachers under the age of 12."

Seriously, I do not look like I am twelve years old. 

I look sixteen.

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