Teenage loneliness: a paradox we cannot understand

Going through the papers I wrote at Georgia Governor's Honors 1986, I came across something I wrote about Westwood (my alma mater and present employer) that has parts that feel like I wrote it this afternoon. Keep in mind, I was going into my senior year and was President of Student Government and National Honor Society and just as type A then as now.  However, I think after reading this, that many of you feel the same way.   It is unedited and may sound more prideful than I would want to sound now, but still, it is how a teenager felt who had a lot of things on her plate.

Don't think for one minute that the students you know don't stress out!  They do!

Penned in July 1986

“Do I want to return
             to a school where
                        I am one of the few leaders?
I love that place.
I seem to be crucial
             but I am not indispensable.
There's so much work to do
             I cannot do it all
                   – I want to “play” too.
             can't they see that?

I just need a little help
            I'm waiting
                 hopefully help will come
               before I cry for it.
       I want to enjoy myself-
            then why is such work enjoyment?
       I'm unhappy without work
            but I don't want to do it myself.
I'm a paradox
                 I cannot understand.”

Even then, work is something I loved.  And yet, it was the lonliness that was the hardest part — feeling alone.

And yet now, I'm at Westwood and I don't feel as alone as then, but still it hits me often.  Teaching, in many ways is a lonely profession because you're in your room most of the day, somewhat disconnected from those your age except when you run into each other at the coffee machine or copy machine!

To me, it is good to hear myself brim over with the stress of being alone and to remember how the kids feel.  It brings it all back.  Yes, I did feel this way.

Look at the students and realize – their stress is real.  Many of the students do feel alone and need encouragement too.  They need to be connected!  This makes me consider how great it would be to connect all the student body presents from around the world and all leaders among teenagers in ways that help them not feel so alone – just as being an edublogger often helps connect you ot others as well.

Just thinking aloud after a conversation with my teenage self.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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