I'm halfway serious about the last point. It boggles me why middle-school and high-school kids give me high-fives in the hallway, yell "Hi, Mr. Farris!" and pay attention to me in class. The most convincing explanation I give myself is that they see my lingering adolescence and awkwardness and identify with it. I haven't grown up enough to forget what stressing over school and getting out of trouble are like (although I did more of the former and less of the latter!), so in some respects I'm still kinda on their level.
Still, I'm shocked at how well I can deal with them. And, oddly enough, how well they can deal with me. A student gave me a Boo-gram for Halloween, and I received this note from a group of sixth-graders on Friday:
I don't know what I'm doing right, but I must be doing it somehow. We'll see what happens with high school this Friday.