After another day of classes, and another round of adolescent glowering and truculence, I am reminded of Springsteen’s classic, “Glory Days”. Nobody said it so well: let’s hope your years in high school won’t be your glory days. If they are, then the rest of your life will be a big disappointment!
One of the most interesting things about adolescents is how many live totally in the present. In some ways this is positive: they live with an intensity that I no longer have, and which I envy. But it can also be overwhelming and crippling. Many teens are utterly convinced that everything they do is earth-shattering and monumentally important, and are incapable of viewing their lives proportionally from the vantage point of the future. I think this lack of perspective is why advice about their future often goes nowhere, and why a few, tragically, don’t survive their teen years.
So, in a weird way, one of my roles as a teacher is to assure them that their years in high school aren’t their glory days. These days are important, to be sure, but they are connected to a much larger thread. Hopefully, my students will soon realize how long and complex this tapestry of life actually is. And maybe – if my students live a bit more with the future in mind – they’ll have many more glory days in the years to come.