Thursday, February 2, 2012

Orentating

When you do something over and over you tend to forget the unique newness of events.  Today is registration for high school freshmen.  I, as the ninth grade counselor, am spending my day in a computer lab, doing a lot of hand holding, question answering, and assisting them as they choose their very first classes. 

And I am answering the same questions over and over and over and over and over and over and...

Well, you get the picture. 

But what I have to keep reminding myself is that they are on the cusp.  The cusp of high school.  Buzzing with anticipation over the newness of it all.  Watching them rush around this lab, course request sheets in hand, asking questions of their friends is rather endearing.  I remember this age so well.  Nervousness blended with excitement.  When I was in my Junior English class, my teacher told us one day that she envied us our teenaged ability to emote.  That we were so intense-intensely in love, intensely in hate, intensely nervous, happy, sad, or even simply intensely bored.  We were just extreme beings.  I didn't get it then.  Yet now, watching my students in this room I completely understand what she said.  The girls squeal about choosing classes.  The boys howl with laughter over bodily functions.  There is not a student who simply sits down. They plop, flop, slam, leap, slide, slink.  It is an entirely different energy.

While I am so frustrated answering the same questions over and over-this is my sixth year of orientating fourteen year-old students to the newness of high school-I also understand that they are new at this.  I am the old and learned one.  I may understand the intricacies of credits, graduation requirements, prerequisites, eligibility and more but they do not.  And this is only the mundane academic part.  This isn't the important stuff of high school life.  Just wait until August when locker assignments go out, complete schedules are distributed, homecoming week schedule is announced, cafeteria tables are claimed, positions in athletic teams and band/choir are posted...that is what matters to the life of our students.  The exterior of teens may look different, but after being an observant educator and school counselor for eleven years I can say that high school is exactly as you remember it.