The Teens Tell Their Story Project was created by Caitlin from A Little Daydreamer and Sherina from Sherina Speaks. Click on the links of their blogs for more information about the project. And to check out their wonderful blogs!
I’ve started this post a few times now, all in different ways. Not because I don’t know what to talk about, but because there is so much to talk about.
You can’t just pick one thing and say: THIS. This is what we teenagers struggle the most with, because that’s not true. How many teenagers wake up every morning and think: ‘I don’t want to go to school’. Not because we’re lazy. Not because we’d rather stay at home and watch tv or read. But because it’s just too damn much. Every teacher expects you to have finished your homework, to have done the assigned reading, to have studied for that test, to have prepared a presentation. Of course there are teachers who understand that sometimes you just can’t, because you were too busy, because you were too tired, because you had other obligations, but in my experience these teachers are rare. In my opinion a teacher’s job is not just to teach students their subject; it’s to teach us their subject, about life, to be there for students when they need them, to be understanding and caring. When I had been down with the flu two years ago and was absent for little over a week, my history teacher was actually relieved to see me back at school (my friends told me had asked about me a few times during class too). This actually brought tears to my eyes- I was used to teachers who didn’t believe I was actually sick. Who thought I was skipping and lying, who showed no compassion and just clearly didn’t give a damn. I’m not saying all my teachers were like this, not at all, but those teachers stuck with me and always will. One of them actually made me want to switch schools and made me cry my eyes out at school, because of the way she treated me, but in a way I’m grateful because I am who I am today because of people like her. She made me strong, though at that time I felt very weak and depressed. And I know she is not the only teacher in the world who’s like this. I know there are teenagers all over the world who have to deal with teachers and other authority figures just like her, and during this time where our bodies are changing, where we suddenly get periods and hormones and all that stuff, when we get actual responsibilities- we don’t need people like that in our lives. We often already have to deal with bullies our own age, we shouldn’t have to deal with bullying teachers, the people who are supposed to protect and help us in school.
And that’s another thing teenagers have to deal with: each other. Bullying at my old school wasn’t that present, thankfully, but it’s something most if not all teenagers deal with, whether it’s directly or not. Do we stand up for the bullied? Or do we stay in the background where it’s safe? And if we’re the one bullied, what do we do? For some reason victims of bullying think it’s shameful and they shouldn’t tell anyone, but if you’re reading this and you’re being bullied- please tell someone. You have no reason to be ashamed. Your bully has all the reasons. Also ignoring your bully is not going to solve anything, please believe me on this. I’m speaking from my own experience, so I know what I’m talking about.
So school can be really, really stressful. I don’t even have to explain that to my fellow teenagers. Bullies is another thing that we have to deal with, but something that really bothers me is that while we’re still kids – and adults remind us of that – we’re expected to act mature and make big decisions regarding our future. We have to do good in school, have a job, have a social life, hang out with our family, have hobbies and interests, dreams and aspirations. If we fail one test, people will be disappointed. Teachers will tell you ‘I didn’t expect this from you’. Well neither did I. If we’re sixteen and without a job, people will think of us as lazy, while not even thinking that maybe you don’t have a job because you want to focus on school. If you don’t have (much of) a social life you’re a recluse and there must be something wrong with you. If you don’t hang out enough with your family you’re selfish. If you don’t have hobbies and interests you’re boring. If you don’t have dreams and aspirations, you’re immature and need to get your life together. Sometimes it feels like teenagers just can’t do right. And this is just in general. Think of teenage girls. Think of those teenagers with a different sexuality besides hetero. Think of those non-white teenagers. Think of the teenagers that don’t just have to deal with school, bullies, responsibilities and adults looking down on them and treating them like kids or expecting them to be mature, but also have to deal with sexism, racism, homophobia and ignorance. Think of the teens whose parents are going through a divorce, who have lost one parent or both, who have lost other people close to them, who have loved ones going through depression or other mental illnesses and addiction. Who go through depression and/or deal with addiction themselves. Think of the teenagers who are still kids, but who are going through way too much.
We are still kids. A lot of us have to go through stuff adults wouldn’t even be able to handle, so please go easy on us. Please don’t be disappointed if we make a mistake. Please don’t look down on us. Please don’t treat us like we’re five, but also not like we’re thirty. Please treat us with respect. Please be there for us and help us. ‘Cause like you point out we’re young and new to this world while you’ve been around for a while, so help us.
– The Writing Hufflepuff