Teaching the second-graders today was unpleasant as usual. I just don’t have the commanding authority necessary to keep them in line. Three- and four-year-olds I can handle, seven-to-nine-year-olds not so much. In fact, this one boy, Petya, had brought a knife, a really serious one, and when I told him he was going to have to go to the headmistress’ office, he said “I’m not going anywhere with you!” Of course, he didn’t have a choice, and while I was staring him down in the hallway a male teacher walked by and that seemed to intimidate him into listening to me.

Then I made the mistake of telling the children my age (29), and they were all like, “You’re older than my mom!” Now I’m used to some of the kindergarten moms being younger than me, and I’m used to the fact that Russians have kids way younger than Americans do, but still, I feel weird when multiple eight-year-olds tell me I’m three years older than their moms when the notion of having kids still seems like something I’m too young to do. I mean, of course I know I’m not, it just FEELS that way in my mind, OK? I guess I’m trapped in extended adolescence.

Which brings me back to my first point, how did I wind up trying to play the authority figure?

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