such a funny age

low angle shot of young woman
Photo by Jack Winbow on

They’re just like little adults in the world

With half formed brains and unformed lives,

No life experience needed for an understanding of

The feelings of the others on this earth.

They push the buttons, poke at nerves

Raw with pain and overuse, like skin

That’s been so scorched with evil flames

Leaving red and sticky wounds that hurt to touch.

With fifteen years within their bank, they know

Those wounds are there, and that the touch will hurt.

They don’t know yet, the pain and damage that

Their scratching does, the long term hurt

They’ll only know with yet another fifteen years

Underneath their lifeling belts.

I am really struggling with my Year 10 students at the moment and it’s eating me up. They are fifteen and they are intelligent so they know that what they say can hurt, but I don’t think that they have the maturity to know that it can have a long term effect.

I am a bit of a softy and I should really be in therapy, but still, I am learning that I struggle to deal with their hurtful comments because they really make me question myself.

The biggest problem with these students is that they don’t have much life experience yet. They know how to push your buttons, but they are too young to know just how fucked up grown ups can be. And interestingly, it’s the intelligent girls from rich families who are the worst. Many of them have had really entitled lives with parents who tell them the sun sshines out of their bums.

The students that have really horrible home lives are not vindictive at all. Those guys will act up, but they know pain and they don’t seem ready to inflict it on other people.

If I can give you any advice, if you are a parent and you are giving your kids the very best of everything: educate them on how cruel the world can be and how compassion is the antidote to any of that crap. Kids that know this, are the kids that will go on to lead the world – in the right direction.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

3 thoughts on “such a funny age

  1. clcouch123

    “With half formed brains and unformed lives,”

    No youth wants to hear this, but it’s true. This is the time for them of an ending of developmental egotism and the start of accountable awareness of a wider world. The nineteenth century did no favors in treating children as small adults on the inside and the outside. They are themselves, and they are maturing. Which should be a good thing for them and finally to everyone.

    Educator to educator, I think your advice to parents (and grown-ups in general) is sound and, frankly, exigent.

    1. patientandkindlove

      Thank you. I sometimes panic that I’m doing it all wrong. I know how to do the parenting but the teaching still feels alien to me. I think it’s great that they have unformed lives – I wish I could go back to 15.

  2. Margot Kinberg

    Your poetry really captures what this age is like, Rachel. I think you’re right that they don’t have enough world experience and maturity to truly understand the hurt they can cause. I think a lot of them would be more compassionate if they did understand that, and i think those who’ve been marginalised do get it. Keep reminding yourself that it’s not you.

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