Given no time to adjust my preconceptions I went into the classroom of teenage girls entirely unprepared for who I would meet. The girls I did meet were entirely normal.
The girls were typical teenage girls,unafraid to give sass and attitude. What I think threw me off the most was that they looked like the girls I went to middle school and high school with, about 9 years ago. I had the idea that teens and preteens nowadays were more fashion forward or capable with makeup than they were in my time, but they were so similar in their fashion, haircuts, and speech that they reminded me of girls I knew.
This made my role as teacher even more confusing. How much authority did I have over these girls that weren’t as young-looking as I was expecting? They reminded me of my peers but some had yet to even see high school.
There attitudes didn’t surprise me, but that didn’t stop their attitudes from throwing me off my “teaching” mode. I wanted to react like a peer, talking to them straight about how their behavior wasn’t right, but my role made me second guess my reactions. It was clear from Day 1 the girls weren’t excited about working with us and each other and we were unsure of how to move forward when we didn’t even know our role in the classroom. While we worked to figure out how to move forward, our level of authority was at the forefront.