WHAT YOU ARE I WAS | WHAT I AM YOU WILL BE
Excerpt from my essay "Generation Gap" in today's Panorama
In a college class I taught just recently, I had negligible cases of tardiness and absenteeism. The dean called me to her office. She said that was good, but what was even better was in that same class, I had 100 percent submission of requirements, not to mention a good rating from the students. “What’s your secret?” I was asked.
No secret, I said, except that “in that class I was the sole authority,” I said while thinking what other things I could have done right that had earned me such dutiful students.
But yes, I was the teacher, I was the adult, it was my rules.
I assumed that everyone made it to that class because they could hack what it took to be in college, one step away from being grownups, despite constant warnings from my colleagues that I shouldn’t be too harsh… “because, you know, some of them have these conditions…ADHD, for instance, or depression or some learning disability.” I might be wrong, but I thought the kids did like authority.
The kids did like it that I was firm when, as some of them asked to write their essays elsewhere, I said: No, you write it here, in this classroom. Journalists write while bombs are falling in their direction.
But yes, now the kids are like “This is our time, leave us be.” As if we have left the building and so we have no more right to say, “Didn’t they teach you how to say hello in college?” Growing up, I don’t think I ever gave myself that privilege, not that I ever felt the need for it. It was just the way things were and, being young, I understood it was I who had to adjust.
Photo 📸: Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell in the coming-of-age film "Scent of a Woman" from 1992
#ageism #generationgap #battleoftheages #youngandold #scentofawoman #alpacino #chrisodonnell #gabrielleanwar #profumodidonna