Students on the cafeteria balcony at Oakton.

They often say “Youth is wasted on the young.” Sometimes I think so, but in so many ways, I question that whole concept. There are decidedly those times when I wish to be young or younger but then there are the other times where I am thankful for all of the wonderful experiences that I have had.

Thinking about this makes me think so much about teaching and being in classroom and what a blessing and privilege that was and is. The opportunity to be someone with some influence on the younger set was and is a decided privilege and honor.

I was always upset and still am when I hear of abuses in the arena of education and how, for example, there are those who are in it just because… To me, if you don’t like young people, get out of the scene. You have no business being there.

What made me think of all of this is the fact that I am on the balcony overlooking the cafeteria at Oakton and I am surrounded by the buzz of youth, listening to the excited conversations going on, hearing the Spanish right now as it is being spoken.

Just being surrounded by all this, the cacophony of voices, language, and diversity, are energizing. I am here because this is where we meet for the French conversation hour and I have, all of a sudden, a few moments to myself.

I see students with headphones, others working on their laptops, still others animatedly speaking to peers. Some of them are eating, others are drinking some sort of beverage, and many are actually studying. Being on a college campus of this type makes me wish I were teaching a class this semester, but at the last minute it slipped through my fingers. One of the other professors who teaches French also teaches Arabic and that class was apparently closed because of low enrollment. That means that although I was set to teach, now I am not. I miss it.

Despite that sadness, I am reenergizing as I am surrounded by the vibrancy of youth.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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