Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Brother

In the past few weeks, I've spent the better part of my spare time helping some students with their college applications. They are doing whatever it takes to delay getting started on their essays. Makes sense, the college essay can be intimidating, particularly for those students who never thought college was an option. Around Thanksgiving, it occurred to me that I am not exactly getting paid overtime for the extra time I'm putting in to do this shit. So why am I doing this?

Well, I guess if you know me (and I don't even know if I even know me, so don't feel left out), then you must know that I didn't really join the teaching gig to roll around in wads of cash.
Side note: Instead, I write this blog with the hopes of an editor from Penguin randomly finding it and offering me a book deal. Holding my breath. Starting now...
It must be Monday evening because my mind is all over the place. It's been a long fucking day and now I'm sitting in grad school, frequently looking up at the board and nodding my head to a professor who clearly has no plans for today. Currently, we're discussing how to come up with better "learning goals" for our lesson plans to make them sound sexier. Apparently, if our learning goals sound sexier, our kids will remember them better. Here's one I came up with:
Apply the properties of exponents in problems involving scientific notation and Penelope Cruz naked.
I think I might be onto something...
Back to the point: why am I dedicating all of this spare time to reading college applications instead of getting ahead on my planning or grading? My thought is I'm doing it because I have a big brother/oldest child complex. I've gone through most of my life figuring shit out on my own, without the guidance of a knowledgeable parent, sibling or mentor. Two examples:
  1. When applying to college, I had no idea what to put as my intended major. I asked my physics teacher, who suggested, "Well, you like computers. And you're pretty good at math. So why not computer engineering?" Why not indeed. I applied and got into a computer engineering program at a large university. Later, I found out I hated computer engineering - it was too theoretical for me. I switched out and chalked it up as a learning experience.
  2. In high school, I had a pretty rigorous schedule of AP and honors courses, so I only got to choose one elective a year. My freshman year, I decided to take an elective called "Exploring Technology" because, get this, it sounded cool. That class sucked balls. And while I was hating every second of it, the rest of my peers were in Spanish I. They stayed in the Spanish curriculum for all four years of high school, which helped them later in life as most colleges require at least four years of a foreign language to meet foreign language requirements. I didn't make the cut, so I had to pencil in foreign language courses in college. Yet, another learning experience.
I guess I feel a slight (ginormous?) burden to ensure my students know their options. I want them to know what the easiest path to success is (I bet I'm even more annoying with my brother). Unfortunately, I think I'm coming in with this advice to the wrong age group. No "regular" teenager wants to think about the future or hear about what to do from some strange good-looking adult (it's okay to admit it). The "future" to most teens is tomorrow. I was never that teenager because I was forced to take a leadership role early in my family. 

Most of my students listen to me when I give life experiences, but I can't help but wonder if they actually take it seriously. Only a few of my top students are anywhere near done with the college application process. And I've had to annoy those students everyday to get on top of their shit.

Will it all be worth it? I hope so. But even if it it's not, I don't think my ego will allow that conclusion to be reached. It seems I'm always going to be big brother in my mind.


Anonymous said...

Someone would have to be really lucky to have you as a big brother. I hope he appreciates what he has.

Anonymous said...

:/ Meh. I'm only behind cause I think I'm failing like 3 classes cause I missed a couple of major assignments. I take it seriously.
I just FAIL on trying to get Serrao's essays done.


Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous 1:
Gee, thanks :)

@ Anonymous 2:
Define "take it seriously."

Anonymous said...

he definitely is the coolest big brother out there

Yo Mista said...