“So, are you happy about it, your new job? Going back to high school I mean?” A friendly, older co-worker comes to sit close to me at my sending-off celebration. He hesitates a little, then says: “It’s a difficult age group, you know.”
I think about his question for a moment. I’ve heard it before – from friends, moms at the playground – teaching teenagers has the image of being very difficult. And I’ve always loved it. So I turn to him. “Yes!”, I say, “I’m very happy to go back. Difficult? I don’t really think about it that way. I just really enjoy working with students in that age group.”
“Oh good! That’s good then,” and he now seems happy to send me off.
A few weeks before this conversation, during my interview at EC, I had been asked many questions and we came to the end of our conversation. It was almost time for me to start my demo lesson. “Do you have any questions left for us?” Mrs. Kuder asked me. I thought for a moment, then I said: “Yes, I do. I’d love to know who your students are and what they are like.” But of course that is a question that is hard to really answer in a conversation – you only find out who people are by meeting them and getting to know them for real.
And now, as I sit at home, starting to plan my classes and work out the curriculum, I am still so glad that God opened a door for me to start teaching at EC. I am looking forward to meet all of you, my students-to-be. I am looking forward to get to know you. Some of you have been at EC for most of your school-age life; others are new, just like I am new to the school. Some of you are coming in from different countries and this summer was and is a major transition for you. For others it’ll be your first year in high school. That is a big transition too. Are you nervous? I sometimes am; for example when I think about the first weeks of school when we all have to find our place.
I do not know any of you yet, but I’m already praying for you. Amidst writing learning outcomes and planning chemistry lessons, I pray that God will guide me to become the teacher that you need, that we’ll learn and grow together and that he’ll hold all of us close; every single day of the year.
Petra Van’t Slot