Thursday, June 12, 2014

Leaving it at the door

As I wrapped up my 9th year at the local arts high school, I realized I had to deal with an unnecessary amount teenage angst like NEVER BEFORE.

I had to stop a class because the seniors decided that was the day they all hated each other.

One took off in tears
One ran off after the girl in tears
One curled into fetal position in the back of the class
One is circling around chasing an invisible tail because she didn't know what to do
One is calming the teacher down
The only boy in the class decided that he was done with all the estrogen in the room and walked out.

They decided to lay it all out on the table in the middle of a dance class because they felt that it was necessary to talk it out. I had to stop the whole thing to remind them:
1) They are seniors, therefore, they are almost adults. Act like it.
2) At this school, we teach them to be professionals before they are professionals. So when they are out in the professional world, they are prepared far beyond anybody else.
3) The problems you are dealing with has nothing to do with the class, so leave it at the door.

I also had a group of 10th graders who made the teacher cry. Not just a little tear down the face. No. Ugly cry.

I also had a student who confided in me and told me how some kids are mean to him. One girl in particular was bullying him. The awkward Asian kid who grew up in a culturally-ignorant town in me felt for the kid. I consulted with my colleagues and addressed the issue with my superiors. Through a series of events, I ended up being the one accused of bullying Said Bully by her mother. I thank the LORD above that my superiors had my back, and the problem was immediately resolved without any further action.

When someone accuses you of bullying, it really shakes you to your core even though you know you did nothing wrong. It makes you question whether or not you should be working in the position you are in.  The one thing that I did do was address Said Bully every time she was on her phone, missing 80% of rehearsals, making excuses, rolling her eyes, and leaving early because she was "sick." Apparently, that wasn't okay with her mother. Long story short, when that production was over, I cried some ugly tears. I was happy it was over, but I was also sad that I wouldn't be able to see the rest of the cast on an every day basis.

It got me thinking:

One time, a good friend who happens to be a professional dancer for a major dance company asked me:

"When you come in to play for company classes, not just for us, but for everybody else who comes through town...Do you see the conflicts the members have with each other? Or the inter-personal problems or tension that they are currently dealing with?"


I actually had to think about it. The short answer is "No."

Unless I am purposely looking for trouble, I don't see trouble. The professionals do a good job in "leaving it at the door" when there are guests in the room. Luckily, I am that guest.

Going into the next year, that will be my motto especially with teenagers. Please leave it at the door. Thank you.

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