DR. WALLACE: I'm the polar opposite of my sister, who is 18 years old. I just turned 16 years old, and I'm really thinking a lot these days about my future. My older sister dropped out of high school when she was only 15 years old and left the family home a year later to move in with her boyfriend.
This year, she and her boyfriend broke up, so to the delight of our entire family, she's decided to move back home.
When she moved out, I took over her old room because it was larger than mine. My parents asked me if I would give my room back to my sister when she came back home. I didn't want to at first, but I finally agreed because it would be good for my older sister and help promote family harmony, something we can all use right now.
My sister at first said she actually didn't want her old room back because she knew that I moved into her old room and lived in it for a long time. But our mom convinced her to take it again. I went quietly along with whatever they wanted to do.
My question is, did I really have to give her back her old room because she's older? Or could I have dug in my heels and kept that room since I had it for a long time, too? — Evicted From My Room, via email
EVICTED FROM MY ROOM: Let me congratulate your whole family and your sister for agreeing to join the family and move back home.
Once your sister moved out, she gave up the right to her room. That room became yours, and you could indeed have "dug in your heels" and had a great argument to keep it. But you elected to be the bigger person and to quietly go along with your mom's wishes to "help promote family harmony."
I feel this is a wonderful action on your part! Congratulations on showing character and putting your personal wishes aside for the greater family good. It sounds as though your sister has had a rough go of things recently, so having her "old" room back might help her to ease back into your family's life a little more gracefully.
The maturity and sense of team play you have demonstrated will serve you well over the course of your lifetime. I'd say you are a very bright and mature 16-year-old.
IS ELEMENTARY OR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHING HARDER?
TEENS: A while ago, I stated that teachers at elementary schools work as hard or even harder than high school teachers. I based this information on the amount of time a teacher spends preparing lessons for the following day's classes.
When I was teaching 12th grade English, I was given one period for class preparation. In contrast, my wife taught third grade students for 25 years with no periods off for preparation. Typically, my wife spent several hours at home every evening grading work for students and preparing the following day's lesson plans for her class. I spent an hour every evening preparing and grading, while my wife spent three hours or more.
We actually were paid the same amount of money, even though, at that time, I taught at a high school and she taught at an elementary school. Obviously, elementary school teachers have to teach a wide variety of subjects to their students to help them round out their overall learning base.
But the time spent at night aside, I will state that high school teachers do have another element of their job that is indeed almost always more difficult. They must interact with, control, discipline and keep order of teens between the ages of 13 and 18. As many parents know all too well, these can be challenging years to deal with young adults from time to time!
Yes, elementary students from the ages of 5 to 12 can present challenges, too, but not usually at levels of intensity that the older students do. It's my experience that a wide majority of young people of all ages are a joy to teach, interact with and watch as their nimble minds develop during a school year.
So, after rethinking my previous stance on this issue and considering all elements of the respective jobs, I'll now say that elementary teachers and high school teachers have just about the same level of difficulty to perform at a high level. And as always, I truly respect and value those who put their hearts and souls into teaching our young people!
During this pandemic, many parents have come to learn just how hard teachers work on behalf of their students.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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