It’s always nice to reminisce, isn’t it? I’ve recently had the chance to meet lots of my high school friends. Our class had been together from second grade on, and, obviously, there are always good laughs as we remember what we went through during our school years. We eventually get to talk about things we did in class, parties, teachers, and all that involves the lives of any teenager. Those were good days, for sure. We speak fondly of some teachers; we speak ill of others. We remember what they did in class and how they used to behave, things they’d say (some teachers say the same thing year after year), and all that is involved in any of these talks.
That also makes me think about how we used to be. We enjoyed it when teachers valued our opinions. We had a blast when sometimes a teacher of ours decided to come to one of the parties we’d throw. We loved listening to their stories and we’d revel in their listening to some our own. However, we also valued our privacy a lot. There were things we didn’t want our teachers to hear, just like there were things we didn’t want our parents to hear. Certain things belong to us only – we shared our secret stories on the phone. We spent a long time locked up in our bedrooms and we’d hate it if mum and dad (rightfully) said that our bedroom wasn’t really our own and that we’d only have our own bedroom when we had our own house.
This week, there was a piece of news on TV exactly about that. Some teenagers in Brazil want to spend more and more time alone in their bedrooms. Family life is pretty much nonexistent. A psychologist was invited to analyse the situation and noticed that teens are not the only ones to blame – some parents make sure they have their own computer in their bedroom, a TV set, their stereo system, their phone, a bathroom… apart from a microwave oven and a mini-bar, most well-off teens have all in their bedrooms. A parent was complaining that his daughter would spend about 7 hours straight locked up in her bedroom.
But then again, if we, as teenagers, had as many things in our bedrooms, if it were just as easy for us to connect with those who are part of our groups, perhaps we’d do exactly the same thing. Teens have a need to belong, they succumb to peer pressure, and have an innate will to rebel. We can blame it on hormones and all that comes with this shift from childhood to adulthood. But truth be told, most teens value the opinion of their friends more than that of their parents and teachers. Teachers do inspire, parents are respected, but there is a certain period of our lives in which we believe parents and teachers know nothing. And this isn’t something new. My parents have an old French poster with sayings from someone at different ages of his or her life. At the age of 6, “dad knows it all,” at the age of 15, “we know as much as dad,” at the age of 60, “oh, if we still could ask dad…” It’s cyclical, and it’s always been like that.
What’s the point I’m trying to make? Well, the thing that’s got me thinking is, when push come to shove, how far can or should we go? Having a learner-centred lesson is important and I believe it truly makes a difference. Breaking into these safety circles in which teens share their lives with their friends might be just a little too much. Aren’t we trying a bit too hard to do something we ourselves wouldn’t like our teachers to have done to us? Yesterday’s phone calls are today’s facebook and MSN. As teenagers, my friends and I always enjoyed it when teachers valued our our opinions in class. However, there was a fine line between listening to us and paying heed to what we said and being intrusive and trying to get too personal. Aren’t some teachers just trying a bit too hard and treading on dangerous ground?