by Jessi H '11

Tim David-Lang: The Man Who Hears the Drama

Mr. Timothy David-Lang, BSGE’s school’s guidance counselor, has seen a large portion of the 400 students at BSGE in his office. They come to talk to him about personal issues they are having in their lives. This could pertain to a number of subjects, including school, parents, relationships, substance abuse, friends, or anything else they have the urge to spill to someone. Some talk by choice, while others are there because it has been ‘recommended.’
‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Secret Life,’ ‘One Tree Hill,’ what do all of these shows have in common? Drama. If you were to tune in during just about any ‘teenage’ based show on TV, there is a high chance of seeing tears or hearing shouting. That is because many teenagers are naturally intrigued by people’s, sometimes over the top, emotions. For some it may be because it strikes them as new and exciting, as they do not experience this much in their everyday lives, but for many more, although it may take different forms, drama is a natural part of life. Even in BSGE, drama can always be found, even if it is somewhat beneath the surface.
BSGE is unique in that it does not act simply as a high school, but as a middle school as well, as kids enroll as early as seventh grade. Because of this large age gap, Tim deals with a variety of problems, many of which he says, vary with growth. One issue that he finds changes from the lower to the higher grades is those dealing with family. Time notices that when students start at BSGE, “childhood is just finishing, so relationships are shifting.” This shift in relationship makes it difficult for parents and children to grasp their boundaries, as independence and one’s personal identity is starting to more fully develop. Tim refers to this as “a natural conflict,” with part of it being about, “distinguishing the self when with and away from the family.”
This issue is made harder, or rather, more definite, by the high level of diversity at BSGE. Students often time are first introduced to a high level of diversity upon coming to this school. This can often throw students off because the morals and values they are taught at home differ greatly from other students here. Students need to figure out where they fit in. Yet, Tim insists, that they “are still very excited to be here, that is not the problem,” it is just “a time of growth.” However, once a little older, staying in BSGE does become one of the problems. Tim notes that many children in the eighth grade and ninth grade consider switching schools, and seek him out to talk to him about it. In the end however, the students usually realize that their hesitation really comes from being nervous about making such a big decision, and decide to stay in the school.
With the older students, Tim hears story upon story of experiences with what he has dubbed, “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Although many students confess parts of their lives that they have only told their closest friends, or sometimes no one else at all, Tim reminds them that he can only keep so much confidential. The student’s safety and the safety of other students comes first. There have been a few instances  in which he has felt that the student was at risk, and then took the necessary steps to help them. When students are warned that their parents will be notified, their reactions to this news vary. Some students are “relieved, others scared, others sometimes shocked.” Anger however, is not usually one of the outcomes, and their talks with Tim often become more frequent after this.
There is, “tremendous power in talking about issues, or what’s going on in your life.” Whether students talk to a guidance counselor, their parents, or their friends, voicing worries or experiences can be a ‘growing experience,’ all on its own.

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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