Friday, September 7, 2012

The Teenage Human as Observed in the Wild

... the "Wild" being a local junior high school, and the specimens under study being around fourteen years of age.

This list will be random and undoubtedly incomplete.


  • Teenagers have a dysfunctional sense of auditory volume. No, I don't mean they play their music too loud (because, well, so do I). They talk too loud when they don't want the teacher to hear them and too soft when they do.

  • They have an amazing capacity to disregard (or at least not notice) the needs of anyone other than themselves.

  • They have an amazing capacity to assist with others' needs with no prompting or incentive.


  • They leave messes just like they do at home.

  • They clean up better than they do at home.

  • Most of them can grade their own work on the honor system just fine.

  • Many are happy to read with any spare moment in class.

  • A few are Rubik's Cube geniuses.

  • Some broadcast their emotions from fifty feet away.

  • Some have very non-emotive faces. You have to watch their eyes.

  • They will surpass your expectations.

  • They will live down to your expectations.

  • They will smash your expectations.

  • They see each other differently than we see them.

  • They don't mind geeky adults (as long as the geeky adults care).

  • They laugh at dirty jokes.

  • They laugh at clean jokes.

  • They laugh at dumb jokes that have been retold since they were in first grade.

  • They don't know what to do when they're angry.

  • They don't know what to do when they're sad.

  • They know exactly what to do.

  • They don't want to be treated like children.

  • They don't want to be treated like adults (not 100% full-time, at least).

  • Some already have to act like adults.

  • Some think they're more on top of things than they are.

  • Some think they're less capable than they are.

  • Even the quietest have distinctive, interesting personalities. "Mary Sue" and the bland, empty-beaker persona don't exist ... and if they appear to, you're not looking hard enough.

That pretty much sums up the non-math side of the first three weeks of school.

5 comments:

Anonymously Yours said...

Yup. All true. My own daughter is starting her teenage journey and everyone of those apply.

Trisha Leaver said...

What an absolutely fantastic and accurate list. As a mother of middle-schooler who happens to be a rubix cube genius, I say you are dead on.

S L Jenan said...

This was wonderful, RC. Almost made me wish I wrote YA.

(Although when I clicked over, I was a little disappointing that you weren't announcing the title of this post as the name of your next book -- I LOVE THAT TITLE!)

janealfalor said...

You must have had an interesting three weeks. At least I know it made for a fascinating read for me.

Cat Woods said...

This is exactly why I love writing for them. They are such amazing creatures!