Someone on a listserve I was on once made the comment, "We are but part of their journey." I wish I knew who made the comment, but the name has long since escaped me, though the quote lingers in my psyche.
When we work with adolescents, we truly are one small step in their long journey of life. It is easy to get frustrated with them, their immaturity, their irresponsible nature, or their impulsivity, taking those things personally. As adults, we've often forgotten what we were like at that age, and are certain we ourselves never acted like that.
Remembering that quote helps me put their behaviors in perspective, knowing that in that given moment, that exact time and place, what that young person is doing is simply one tiny blip on their radar of life. They are most likely not trying to be annoying, not intentionally trying to make my life miserable, but are acting/reacting in the here and now.
Years later, students remember us for how we treated them, how we made them feel about themselves, long after the lessons we taught them have been forgotten or replaced with new knowledge. We run into them in the oddest of places, and find out they turned out just fine, in spite of us, in spite of the terrible adolescent things they may have said or done. They look at us and smile, simply remembering the good we gave them.
So as you begin this school year, this part of your journey in the journey that is your students' lives, remember to make a positive blip in their memory. Be one of the places they enjoyed visiting, one they want to see again.