15 October 2007

Take It and Run With It

If you've lived and/or worked with teens, you know that compliments are not always forthcoming. This is not to imply that teens are uncouth or ill-mannered, only that their priorities can be a little different from those of adults.

During dinner last week, I was catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. I mentioned that the outfit I was wearing was the same as the first day of school. At that time, a young lady in one of my classes had caught my attention at the end of the period and said "I like how you match." While this might not be the most blush-inducing comment I've ever received, I made sure to thank her for her gracious words. It was a very nice gesture and it makes me laugh when I think about it. (As an aside, when my friend and I were leaving the restaurant that evening, the hostess looked at me and said, "Your outfit really matches!" I couldn't help but burst out laughing. I'm sure my friend would have never believed a 15-year old had said the same thing if we hadn't just talked about it.)

I had an admin tell me today that kids have been coming in for schedule changes, but any time the counselor mentions that what they want would require them to no longer be in my class, the kid chooses not to make a change. It's a compliment in its own way. Kids might not say anything to me about liking my class, but the fact that they're willing to put up with someone else's so they can hang around in mine makes a nice quiet statement. (Yes, I also know that it also highlights that kids might not have the right motives in going in for a schedule change if they're willing to give it up so easily.)

Teachers know that compliments are few and far between. It can be years before a kid returns to tell you "Thank you." For now, I'll take these two small treasures and run with them.

1 comment:

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Oh yeah, take 'em where you find 'em.

A long time ago, a friend told me that satisfaction in teaching was like wetting your pants in a dark suit.

You get a nice warm feeling, but nobody else seems to notice.