Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Confusion of puberty

The wind is still blowing a gale here.  Yesterday, the harbor was a froth as I did three boat tours with the coastal cruise company that hired me as the lecturer/scientist for their trips.  The only difference with today's weather is that it is raining as well as blowing.  It will be another interesting day on the water. 

I wish that I were totally enthralled with doing this job.  I give it my best but trying to reach the 8th graders this week is difficult.  Some seem to be interested so I focus on them.  Those who spend their time squealing and acting out are the ones that I don't focus on.  I am not a counselor.  And I am learning that I am not a teacher for those who don't want to be taught.  I have spent my career working with motivated people and have spent a lot of time writing papers and proposals in solitude.  I am affable but uncomfortable with large groups of disinterested people. One of my shortcomings, I suppose. 

I talked to a chaperon yesterday who happened to be a retired art teacher.  She said that in her 31 years of teaching, she has seen the kids change dramatically.  The eighth grade girls dress like hookers and yet will act like young girls with their squeals and games like "patty cake".  The boys dress and act like kids.  There is growing evidence that the onset of puberty in girls may be shifting earlier and earlier, possibly due to obesity or exposure to environmental chemicals.  This is obviously a difficult age. 

Yesterday,  a couple of the bigger boys were stomping on the clams, one broke a bottle on a rock and another was kicking a jellyfish.  I told the boys to not stomp on clams or kick jelly fish.  And I made the one that broke the bottle, pick up the pieces and put them in a plastic bag.  Where are the teachers? Well, there is only one per group of 50 students, and she was overwhelmed with so many kids to keep up with.   I know that I don't want to baby sit a group of kids, but also I can't let them be destructive. 

I don't remember much about 8th grade.  I thought much of early high school up to tenth grade was pretty much a mess.  There were social cliques, lots of hormonal changes, and emotional confusion.  Maybe not much has changed. Male aggression starts coming out which may explain the need to kick or break something.  Females are still girls but are learning to be women.  Lots of confusion for all concerned.

I will give it my best today.  There will be over 125 students going out on the water.  I keep telling myself that if just one or two come away with an appreciation for the ocean and its critters, then I am doing some good.  I will see what I can do today.  Hope that you have a good day. 


  1. Good luck and may the grace of God go with you. I can't say anything. I don't like teachers and I can't imagine being with that many kids with one "authority figure."

  2. i like the writing in the sand...there are good ones...50:1 is a poor ratio...unacceptable, but we cut ed budgets to pay other special interests...go figure...

  3. After raising 3 teenagers and trying to live through those trials I have come to believe that abortion should actually be legal up to the age of 18.

  4. Brian said it, education cuts are leaving the classes shorthanded.

    Paul comes home daily telling me about the kids he teaches and how frightened it leaves one, wondering about the future holds. So many kids these days have no respect for authorative figures, or compassion for the world around them.

    Each generation seems to be more removed than the one before. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. It seems you have stumbled upon a growth opportunity. I hate that.

  6. My life has been filled with kids...my own and other peoples. I know what you are saying...I try to think about the unknown about their lives. Who knows what is going on at home for some of them. Parents scrambling to make a living, not available to their kids, emotionally or just by being physically present. Its a tough world out there for them to find their way in.

    Thank you for your contribution of something positive.

  7. Syd,
    You are a saint. I don't like children. I could have been a college professor, but never a primary school or high school teacher.

    I hope you have a nice group of kids, buddy.



  8. Good post! Like sobriety, you can state what information you have and maybe one or two will get it. I see a shift not only in kids but in parenting. Parents so overwhelmed because they are drowning themselves that they don't bother to discipline the kids as long as they aren't harming anything. I was a handful to my parents so I'm much stricter with my children. They are told right from wrong, and destruction and violence are not tolerated. My eight year old is starting puberty already. I thought this was crazy until I started researching and found out it's all too true. So I armed myself with some great books written for her and her age that we go through nightly. She was shy about talking at first but now has tons of questions and we really enjoy this "girl" time together. Both my husband and I have crazy schedules but that in my mind is no excuse to not be guiding our children. It's a ton of work, but it's a role I chose, so I need to step up and be there. You are a good role model for those kids, suggestions of right from wrong won't hurt anybody!

  9. I like to remind myself that I have the option of changing my mind, if something isn't working for me. I don't have to stay and suffer, as I once would have done.

  10. Just because we KNOW why someone acts the way they do doesn't mean we have to enjoy being around them.
    Teachers are saints. You are being a part-time saint. Good on you.
    Loved the picture, by the way.

  11. I think you got to the crux of the situation when you said " I keep telling myself that if just one or two come away with appreciation.." I often feel that way in the rooms of AA !
    It may seem like a thank-less task but I'll bet those few will always remember your words.

  12. When through their own foolish behavior the Atlantic eats one of them there will be respect for that great sea then.


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