Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prom - 20 years later

I teach in the high school where, 20 years ago, I was a student.  More specifically, 20 years ago, I was a senior in high school.  A cheerleader.  ASB President.  Voted Class Clown.  When I first started teaching here, it felt surreal to walk the halls without familiar faces.  To see different teachers in the classrooms who didn't know me.  In the past seven years, that surreal feeling has faded and I've found my place as a teacher, rather than the student in these familar halls.  And no, I've never worn my cheer uniform a single day since I packed it away 20 years ago!

In high school, I was VERY loud.  Obnoxious.  And a whole lot of fun.  I didn't party.  I didn't have a boyfriend (Miss Socially Awkward).  Ever.  My students never believe me when I tell them these two facts but they are true.  I just had fun.  I didn't experience a lot of high school drama because I hung out with the guys and guys don't do drama.  My drama-filled days were spent in middle school.  Blach.  What a terrible time.  I was so glad to walk into high school and leave that drama behind. 

But high school?  Oh, glorious freedom and life with very few responsibilities with a hated curfew.  Many of us can remember those carefree, reckless days.  When it seemed the biggest problem was who would be your homecoming or prom date (I'm sure there were relationship issues involved but again, I never had a boyfriend) or could you gather enough kids together to help decorate for dances so you could get home and shower before the dance.   Would the pep assembly be flawless or flop?  Would our football team win the state championship (it did!). Where would we end up on weekends, watching movies? Would we be able to get back to said house before the group who's houses we just covered in toilet paper (t.p'ing) would catch us in the act?   BTW, in hindsight, having a curfew wasn't great but it was a solid move by the parental units.  And we never got caught T.P'ing.  By groups or parents.

Why is it we lose that sense of freedom as we grow older?  Does the weight of responsibility really need to weigh that heavily upon our shoulders?  I mean, do we really need to work to pay the mortgage or bills or run kids around to countless activities?  I know the answer to these questions is yes and it is part of this chapter in my life.  I'm not saying I want to go back to high school because I firmly believe every chapter has its place, its time, and ends when the time is right.  But there are times when I miss the carefree, social, secure feelings that came with being a high school student.

Teaching in my high school is wonderful.  I have amazing students who never fail to make me laugh on a daily basis.  I have spent more time in the past two weeks, helping girls choose the right prom dress (length is long and color is hot), helping boys ask girls to the dance, and helping groups find locations for dinner than I did for my own prom!  I know kids party so the adult in me reminds each and every one to be responsible and show up to the dance sober.  Since I'm the class advisor, I really don't want to be in a position of telling a parent their kid was dumb, ya know?  And then the goofy high school girl in me giggles at their antics and remembers a time when she was ready to move on but still wanted to hold on, for just one more day, to life in high school.

P.S.  Miss Socially Awkward girl did go to Prom.  My dear and super-cute friend, Dan, asked me in science class one day.  We had a wonderful evening with our group of friends at the Space Needle for dinner, the dance on the Pier, and camping afterwards.  Still not sure how I was selected Prom Queen or convinced my parents to let me go camping but it was a great way to finish up high school.

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