I was offered a position as a long-term substitute teacher, and while it's not the permanent position I was looking for, it's a start, so I took it. I started teaching yesterday, and I remember why it was that I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. I love being able to correctly explain new ideas to kids, be a positive role model for them, and I especially love seeing the look of dawning comprehension when someone finally gets a particularly difficult concept. It's terribly rewarding, even if they pay isn't. (cliche!)
What I'd forgotten is that for each of those satisfying moments, there are five or six annoying ones to deal with. My last class today had one student in particular who seemed like she had made it her personal mission to be as obnoxious as possible. She got to me at first, but I trained myself to tune her out by the end of the period. It got me thinking, though. Many of my classes have annoying students like that. That's something that you come to expect as a teacher. The average classroom is probably an average cross-section of people I'm likely to meet in life; attendance is compulsory, at least at this stage. So if one in every twenty or thirty students in each class is obnoxious, it stands to reason that one in every twenty or thirty people I meet in life are going to be obnoxious, too.
As many of five percent of the people I run into are going to be complete jerks, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it. That's a sobering thought. I always just assumed that people who were jerks in high school would just grow out of it, but the more of the real world I see, the less I'm inclined to think so.