There are times that I feel far more similar to my students than I do to my colleagues.
My boyfriend and I have been considering buying a house. This freaks me out. In a way I still am expecting to be handed an official grown up certificate before I’m allowed to do things like buy a house.
When I talked about it with my colleagues, they said things like “That’s a really sound financial investment”, and gave me advice about mortgages and loans and contractors. I nodded and agreed and inside was thinking “What the hell does that mean?”
When I told a few of my former students, their reaction was disbelief. “Is it expensive?” “How will you get the money?” “Who do you have to talk to to do it?” “How do you even do that?” And it was to them that I could honestly answer, “I don’t know! I’m freaking out, man!”
We talk a lot at my school about peer groups. When we regroup students in new classes, we like them to have a comfortable peer- a friend they feel close with and safe around. My second year of teaching, when I was a special ed assistant, a student who had been in the previous class I taught in asked me on the first day “Are you my comfortable peer?” I’m still not sure to what extent she was joking.
I’m 16 years older than the students I had the conversation about the house with with. I’m more than 16 years younger than quite a few of my colleagues. I think it’s a good balance. Sometimes you need financial advice. Other times you need to acknowledge that you’re freaking out, man.