Monday, October 13, 2014

A Little Too Nice

Image Credit: Unsplash via Pixabay
Hi there! First off, to all you Canadians out there, a huge happy Thanksgiving to you! It’s a bit odd that our Thanksgiving is so early in the fall months, but I guess it’s never too early to be grateful. I also just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who have been reading and following this blog through all of my craziness and through my erratic posting schedule. It means a lot to me that you’re all a part of my life and I hope that reading my blog everyday (or however often you read it) brings you as much joy as it does to me when I write it.

Speaking of thanks, today, I wanted to talk to you about this one teacher I have.  He’s new at my school this year and I’d say that he’s about 50 years old. I have him as both a French and a history teacher and overall, he’s a really nice guy. But the thing, is with teenagers, we can’t seem to accept extremes and whenever someone is a bit too something, we call them out on it and spin that certain character trait in the complete opposite direction.

Oh, is she too peppy and cheerful? She must be doing for reasons x and y. Is he is really mean and cold (but just so happens to be good-looking)? He is so cool. You get the gist.

This certain teacher is, as I said earlier, a really nice guy. He talks to all his students and tries to make conversation with all of us. Like most, he might start a conversation by complimenting you somehow, maybe by mentioning how cool your t-shirt or something is. In short, he tries to establish a connection to his students and is, well, nice to them, but somehow, good intentions get lost with us teenagers. It’s sad, really.

A few weeks ago, I was wearing these cool leather perforated shorts and he was like, “Juliana, where’d you get your shorts?” in this voice that was slightly in awe. Clearly, he wasn’t intending to get himself a pair, but was simply making conversation and compliments are a great way to start. If you read my Imposter Syndrome post, you’ll know that accepting compliments was and sometimes is a bit… weird for me, so as usual, I was a bit taken aback, but answered with a smile and told him that I got them from Urban Outfitters.

I think at that point, the class was pretty quiet and that most of the people around me heard what he’d said. When I went to sit back down at my desk, I was met with some looks of sympathy, saying what words wouldn’t have been able to since he was sitting literally five feet away. They wore looks that said, “Oh my God, I feel for you. It was so weird how he said that.” And at the time, I’m ashamed to say that by not saying anything along the lines of “it wasn’t that weird” or “he was just trying to be nice” and only returning their gazes with an awkward smile, I added to the notion that he shouldn’t have done that and that he shouldn’t have complimented me or any of those other people. In reality, that’s not the case at all.

We’re all thrown together for six hours a day, teachers and students, without any say in it at all and we’re expected to deal with each other and do our jobs accordingly. I know that I hate it when a teacher is just a cold-cut teacher who doesn’t try to interact with us and doesn’t try to show any kind of enthusiasm for whatever they’re teaching. I also know that pretty much everyone else I know will agree with me. So when a teacher who just so happens to be a bit older attempts to do the very thing that we all like, we’re suddenly giving each other knowing looks as if we didn’t want such a thing to happen?

Before you think that I’m not seeing it in that way, let me assure you that I have. I’m sure the question of whether or not his actions bear the hint of pedophilia has probably crossed your mind once while reading this and has crossed the judgemental ones who interact with him as a student on a daily basis, but I can also assure that you that he’s actually harmless. So why are we giving him a hard time (behind his back, but a hard time nonetheless) for being nice?

I realise that any one person can’t possibly please everyone – that’s just not possible. But what still boggles my mind is how we like it when someone is nice to us. We like it when they show that they care about us and that they acknowledge us as a fellow human being, a comrade. But when that person doesn’t fit our criteria in his or her physical appearance and age, or whatever it may be, we suddenly think it’s weird that he or she is being nice to us, as if we’re uncomfortable. What the hell is with that?

Kindness is rare to come by and if there’s anything you take from this, just remember to cherish every bit of kindness you get. And gosh, bless the souls of those who try to bring kindness to someone else’s life. I’m 100% positive that my teacher isn’t reading this right now, but I wanted to say a big thank you for, well, just being nice. And for being really history to make the class a bit less boring.

Have you ever had a teacher like that? Or maybe just met someone like that? You know what? Just tell me your thoughts on this whole thing, I'd love to read what you have to say.

Thank you so much for reading!
- J

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