Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Student Stories: Part Two

(This is one of my high school graduation pictures. Please let me know if anyone pictured feels uncomfortable being photographed on my blog. I am still learning the protocol about posting pictures of all kinds, especially of friends and family).
Last night was the first night of my new class. I loved it. Apparently this whole grad school thing really works for me! I highly recommend it, and just for the record, it is SO much better than undergrad! I decided to switch classes at the last minute and am now in class with some of the people I most enjoyed from my Ethics class. This new class is all about teaching adults. It focuses on adult education in the classroom as well as teaching in the workplace. I am sure by the end of this term I will want to be a teacher. It has always been a Plan B option, but after this class it might be Plan A…we’ll see/
Part of last night’s class involved a lengthy discussion about what (and when) determines adulthood. We are going to discuss this more next week and look over some “criteria,” but as of last night it seems many in class, and the professor, believe (as most) that adulthood begins at 18. I see the reasoning for this, but don’t agree. I think adulthood begins at 16. It begins when a person starts their junior year and gets their drivers’ license. Sixteen is the age that books and movies and TV shows are about. In fact, tonight’s “90210” (yes, I watch it…and like it) is about a sweet 16 party. This is the age society highlights and I also think that by bringing attention to it, society inadvertently decides it is the “coming of age” age; it is the start of adulthood. Yes, 16 to 18 year olds are young adults, but adults none-the-less.
In my own life, 16 was the age where everything began to change and move me toward adulthood. I (eventually) got my license, started speaking up for myself (and my religion) in class, decided on my college major (thanks, Mom), was allowed more independence, spent time with five incredible teachers who allowed me to become the woman I am, and other melodramatic-sounding events that don’t need to be added to this already long list. You get the point.
In class I just kept thinking that many of the aspects of adult education should be applied to high school upperclassmen as well. I know from my own education that when you treat high school students with respect and not assumptions, and you (as the teacher) view yourself as more of a facilitator than a teacher, students will learn and engage on a deeper level. Students just need people to believe in them and see them the way they try, in their best moments, to see themselves, which is typically as an adult. High school students are dealing with just as many issues and insecurities as your average freshman and sophomore in college, maybe even as many as a college senior. Age does not have to determine wisdom or experience.
I don’t know, maybe some would argue that college students aren’t even fully adults. I couldn’t really blame them considering that last night I was part of an alumni panel at senior chapel and APU’s senior class thought a person saying “drink it up” about taking in senior year was a chance to laugh about alcohol. But, one could also point out, that some people just never grow up.

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