Today was the day I gave a big lecture to my course. Not a lecture of anger but a lecture filled with content. The content was varied and hard. I talked about the types of things it would be filled with last time. I believe that the lecture was a success but I don’t want to talk about that today as much as I want to talk about the term I’ve been known to use when talking about my students outside of class to other people: kids. Now, I want to make it clear that this isn’t meant as a term allowing me to look down on them. The explaination is the subject of this post.
It was my uncle why questioned my term: “Kids?” He asked it in a surprised way and seeking some sort of explanation. After all, I’m not much older than most of my students and I occasionally have students who are older than me. So why use the term? I hadn’t really thought about it before but I realized that calling my students “my kids” is really, for me, a term of endearment meant to indicate the responsibility and hope I feel towards them.
I’ve talked before about the rather negative attitude some instructors share with each other about the large mass of minds called students. Oftentimes this is simply in jest but frequently it is serious. The attitude itself creates problems in my mind. It makes the instructor secretely think the students aren’t capable, need to have things dumbed down, and generally don’t care. I don’t think these things are true. “My kids” are successes waiting to happen. “My kids” are bright minds with independant thoughts waiting to spring out of their mouths at any moment and astonish me with thier insight and wisdom. “My kids” are capable of anything I throw at them and more. So yes, I call them “my kids,” and I have hope for their futures but I also expect a lot. There is nothing that “my kids” cannot do.