Sei sulla pagina 1di 8

Bunker 1

Amanda Bunker Edu 280 1 April 2010 Adolescence: A Conscious Recapitulation

Until taking this education class, my adolescence was a time in my life that I try not to remember. Part of what makes a good teacher is being keenly aware of what being an adolescent entails. I would not be able to understand where my students are coming from unless I keep in mind my own trials and tribulations of adolescence. Awkwardness and adolescence are directly correlated. Some of the many misconceptions that teens have when going through adolescence are that they are the only ones whose voices and bodies are changing or who look silly. If I werent so self-conscious when I was a teen, I may have seen that my peers were going through the same changes that are essential in students struggle with identity. As a pre-service teacher, it is important to remember how these changes defined who I am as an individual, and that the teens I will be working with are only in the midst of that. Everything seemed so easy before the onset of puberty. The things that worried me the most before I started puberty were how much time there was before recess, what I was going to eat for snack when I got home from school, and who was having the next birthday party. Of course, those issues were not the issues that Mother Nature intended me to be concerning myself with after fifth grade. Fifth grade was the year I had to brave the dreaded bra shopping. I was an early developer and none of my friends in my class were developing at the same rate I was. There were other girls in my class who were, but they got picked on for it. The school nurse gave the talk to the fifth grade kids. About a week after the talk, there was a pad found underneath

Bunker 2

the other early developers desk. Everyone talked about her behind her back. The other kids whispered, stared, giggled, and pointed at her. I have to admit I was one of them, but I was just trying to fit in. If I could go back in time, I would not have involved myself with publicly humiliating this girl. I know what it is like to be humiliated. The other girls in my class made fun of me for wearing a bra; the straps could be seen near the neckline of my t-shirts. Other girls whispered, stared, giggled and pointed, but this time it was at me. I was given the name Big Boob Bunker. Being in fifth grade, that can be especially traumatizing. Eventually, I came home crying, having to tell my mother the whole story. She said she was also an early developer, and that it ran in our family. Her best advice was, The next time they make fun of you for wearing a bra, ask them if they would prefer if I not wear one. My classmates making fun of me continued through until middle school where there were other early developers and it wasnt so rare to see a girl wearing a bra. I went to high school in a small rural town. Most of the students that I went to school with were either rednecks or potheads. These are the most prominent cliques due largely in part to the area I live in. Even though most of my school defined themselves as rednecks, most of them acted White to fit in. Although I am surrounded by rednecks every day, I never have considered myself one. The rednecks that I have been exposed to are more interested in chewing tobacco than they are anything else. Id rather not be seen walking around with a mouth full of chewing tobacco and a spittoon. My mother was always around more when I was growing up than my father (who chews tobacco), therefore I developed more ladylike values. Even though schools are supposedly tobacco-free, that didnt matter much to teachers or students. When a teacher at my high school saw a teenage boy walking around with what looked to be a can of

Bunker 3

chew in the back of his blue jeans, they merely looked at them suspiciously and went on their way. The church also played an important role in making me who I am today. I have been going to church with my mother on Sunday mornings since I was a baby. She used to test me on what the homily was about to make sure I was paying attention. As I grew older, I learned how to weasel my way out of her tests. I joined the choir and led my mother to believe that I was paying attention, when I was really spacing out. I went to all the religion classes, made my confirmation and taught Summer Bible School. After a while, when I realized I was being forced to be a part of something for so long, it got old. I started to question whether being Catholic was something I really wanted to be. The doubt set in my senior year of high school. With that doubt I started questioning the Catholic values and rebelling against them. Being a little more physical with boys started to sound a little more appealing. It has been three years since then, I am back to the point where I am regularly attending church with my mother on Sundays. My mistake of doubting my religion opened my eyes in the end. Being part of the Catholic Church set me on a better path than getting too involved with boys did. Every person needs to makes mistakes much like these in their life. They can then take those mistakes and use them as a learning experience. Most teens dont know who they are or who they want to be when they enter middle school. Cliques were more of a trial and error system for me. I tried to fit in with a group of girls who were considered sluts in my school. I quickly changed cliques when I discovered that wasnt the kind of person I was. I also tried to work my way into the popular girls circle of friends. I was successful in doing this, but I had to leave behind most of my friends from elementary because they werent up to par to fit in with the popular girls. Middle school acted as my battleground on how I could constantly make myself better. Cultural tools such as magazines

Bunker 4

and the media contributed a great deal as to why I am so self conscious even today. I had this idea in my head that I was never good enough. When that impression was made at such a young age it is unlikely that I will ever see myself as good enough. The magazines promoted high fashion, most of which that average person cannot even afford. They have stories on how to better your diet, sex life, and even your career. People would be better off if they set goals that are realistic to them instead of listening to what magazines and the gossip world tells them is the norm. What magazines should really start emphasizing is that there is no norm. If they did this, then maybe the minds of young and nave girls would be corrupted a little bit less. The cultural tool I relied most heavily on when it came to growing up was books. I immersed myself into the world of a book because that reality seemed a lot better than the one I was currently living in. Reading tragic love stories such as Nicolas Sparks The Last Song, A Walk to Remember, Dear John, and Message in a Bottle made me believe that the perfect guy does exist. Sparks made me believe that every guy has the potential to be a charmer and fall for girls who arent necessarily supermodel quality. These books created a set image of what a relationship should be like. What I had to re-convince myself of was that there is no perfect guy out there and there is no perfect relationship. Every relationship has flaws and every guy has imperfections. This is why we girls are drawn into relationships, because they sound so dramatically enticing. These books are probably why most of my early relationships failed. I was trying to mold my relationships and my boyfriends into an ideal instead of letting them take their own course. It has been hard to deviate away from those love stories and those ideal guys, but at least now I am aware of it and trying to ignore them. As I was growing up, the adult world seemed attractive only because you didnt have parents trying to tell you what to do. Being an adult meant being able to have a license and drive

Bunker 5

wherever I wanted and whenever I wanted. Being and adult meant having a house and living on my own. I thought that being an adult meant being able to be around a boy and not have my father worry about how that boy was going to try me, but I am legally an adult now and my father still does this. There are many positives that go along with being an adult, however with every representation there is always a flipside. My parents didnt get along the greatest when I was growing up. There were many nights when I would hear them fighting with each other. Being an adult meant having to deal with broken relationships. Just because someone was an adult meant that they thought they could abuse the liberties they were given. Adults get to use credit cards, but some adults enjoy using their credit cards so much that they end up in debt. Some adults think it is okay to abuse alcohol just because they are of age. Some adults involve themselves too deeply in their career that they dont have enough time to spend with their children. My aunt is a perfect example of this. Her job sends her away on meetings and keeps her out of the house seventy-five percent of the time. Her daughter spends most of her time with her father and therefore has developed a more masculine demeanor. It is sad watching her grow up and seeing that there is little that is feminine about her. Because of her lack of a feminine influential figure in her life, she is being bullied at school for having a butch appearance. There are good and bad aspects of the adult world. No matter how I look at, adulthood is something that every person has to go through. There is no sense in worrying about it. Adulthood gets more interesting when marriage and having a family gets involved. As a college student, I am satisfied with the life I have led thus far. I am sure the future holds many new adventures that will further contribute to what kind of person I am, but for now I am in no rush. Having an older sister who went through the teen world before I did made me want to become a teenager even faster. One of the advantages of being a teen is that my sister got to wear

Bunker 6

makeup. I use to try to put on makeup but I always got mad in the end because my sisters always looked so much better. I was jealous every time my sister got to go to a high school dance and I was stuck at home. What mystified me the most was that my sister had a boyfriend. Even when I was in middle school I would spy on them when he came over to the house. Now I feel bad for my sister because she never got any alone time with her boyfriend. According to my parents, that wasnt necessarily a bad thing. Eventually my sister got mad at me enough to tell my mother to make me back off a little. Since I couldnt spy and analyze what a real teenage relationship was like, I sat in my room imagining myself into one. I daydreamed about how I would get my first kiss, what it would be like walking and holding hands with a boy, and even creating a series of conversations I could see myself having with a future boyfriend. I had a pretty wild imagination. What I later realized, is that you cant plan all of those things. They happen randomly. None of these situations were tender and romantic the way I had imagined them. They were all very awkward, which I should have predicted. As I said before, my school primarily consisted of rednecks and potheads. There were other cliques at our school such as jocks, preps, emo-kids, art-kids, and drama geeks. Surprisingly enough the people at my school got along with each other for the most part. There was the occasional fight, but that was usually because someone was talking smack about someone elses boyfriend/girlfriend. I was considered a drama geek. I didnt join the drama club until halfway through my tenth grade year. From tenth grade on, theatre became my thing. I did all the school plays and was in all of the schools singing groups. Being part of those groups made me feel like I was a part of something. That is why people join cliques. No one wants to be isolated, and even if they do they are considered emo-kids (overly emotional or gothic). I only became a drama geek after tenth grade. What did I do before then? I tried to fit in as a prep but

Bunker 7

that was changing my appearance to pretend to be someone I was not. I then got a brilliant idea to try out for the cheerleading team. After the summer camp I decided that the cheerleaders had a reputation of putting out and I didnt want to been seen that way either. I had always had the natural gift of being artistic so until tenth grade I clung to the art club. It acted as a backup plan in case being a drama geek fell through. In my school it was common for a person to be involved in more than one clique i.e. being a jock and being a drama geek or being an emo-kid and being and art-kid. The first time I realized I was starting to think as an adolescent was in sixth grade when a boy who everyone knew I had a crush on came and sat next to me at lunch and said the following: I hear you have a crush on me. If you do, would you want to go out with me? I was in sixth grade! Sixth grade seemed way too young to be thinking about a boyfriend. So of course, what did I say? Eww! No! Where did you hear that? If I could go back to that situation again I probably would have reconsidered his offer a little more than just telling him no on-the-spot. That would only be if I knew what know now. If I was just as immature and nave as I was in sixth grade I probably would have still said no. What really helped me crossover into adolescence was having my first relationship. Getting my first boyfriend gave me a taste of what being mature was really like. My first relationship lasted sixth months which isnt that bad. What really made me grow up was the break-up. No matter how long I was dating him for, it was still the first time someone had ever broken my heart. That break-up was what really made me toughen up. A transitional period/informal ritual that I had to go through in order to become an adolescent was to stop being afraid of taking medicine in the form of a pill. I liked the taste of the liquid medicine and it was easier to take. The idea of taking a pill made me think that I was

Bunker 8

going to choke on it and die. Once I started my period, I had stomach pain so bad that my forced me to take the medicine in the pill form. It may not have been a giant leap into adolescence but it was a baby step for me. I was no longer afraid of taking pills. If I could step back in time and repeat my adolescence, not that anyone would want to, I would have made a few minor changes as to how I acted. I was an attention-seeker and did everything I could to get a boy to look in my direction. Just a few words of advice to teenage girlsboys will notice you for who you are even if you are quiet. The way I acted made guys steer away from me instead of wanting to get close to me. The most important part is to be yourself and dont put on a mask. Take off the mask; keep experimenting until you find where you fit in. Just use middle school to have fun, make friends, and join a few extracurricular activities. No fear. I was a student in middle and high school once too. I went through many of the same issues that my students will be going through. If my students are having a problem with school or their transitions into adolescence they should know that they can come to me to talk about it. If there is an issue I need to keep an unbiased opinion and not always taking the side of the student who I see myself in. As I said before, there is always a flipside to every issue. The best I can offer my students is my personal knowledge. If a student doesnt want to talk about it, I understand that some issues are too personal to talk about. I dont want to push them to the point where they are not comfortable speaking with me. As it is, students with disabilities and unstable home lives are being mainstreamed into schools because of No Child Left Behind. Because I have never been exposed to children like these they will probably be my greatest challenge. In the end, no matter what race, gender, color, or abilities a teenager has they are all facing the same struggle with identity during adolescence.