INDIVIDUALIZATION VS CONNECTION
WOW! Reading these chapters really brought back some memories of my own struggles and risk-taking behaviors of my adolescence. I remembered my own journey of “struggling to find a balance between individuality and connection drives adolescent identity experimentation and the fleeting passions that often accompany it” (pg 22).
While reading I flipped back and forth to figure 2.1 on page 28. At first when I saw the visual I was not sure what the four boxes meant. As I read though I tried to identify my own crisis/non crisis and commitments/non commitment periods of my adolescence. I also identified some of my students. I work with a span of grade 6 to grade 8 and I can really see some of my seventh and eighth grade students “explore(ing) roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships” (pg 36). Again the pattern of a journey came up, “an achieved identity status does not represent the conclusion of the identity constructing process; rather, it is a waypoint in the individual's life long journey of understanding and constructing the self” (pg 38). I liked how Nakkula pointed out that both students and teachers are both constructing our identities and how it is a process that is “ever-evolving” (pg 26). It is a journey that begins mostly in adolescence and continues through-out life. Adolescents are just experience it for the first time, and it can be overwhelming at times and we (teachers, adults, etc) need to be there for adolescence and help them along the journey on construct “healthy understanding with them, not for them” (pg 33). Adolescents must learn how to take calculated risks, as Lightfoot says “high-risk behavior is common and deeply meaningful” (pg 44), but as the adults in the school we need to help provided experience and risks that challenge our adolescent students.
I wished that we could have a guidance counselor at every school like Mitch Guillermo, with a 1 to 10 student ratio or less! The attention to Julian's individuality and needs was superior, every student could benefit from the activities that Mitch and Julian worked on, but I wonder how often is this the story? To me this was a best-case scenario, I wondered what kind of attention that Antwon received.
I also connected with some of the questioning techniques Guillermo used and Nakkula presented:
- What did it feel like to be like that in that setting?
- What was it like when you were with those people in that place?
- Making a list of various spaces and relationships an adolescent must negotiate each day
- What each of those spaces and people expect you to be?
- How you feel in each of those spaces or with those people?
- Where do you feel safe?
- When do you feel anxious or uneasy?