My friend Mandy, an 8th grade teacher, tells me that she walked into a group of 8th grade students today and greeted them with a big hello. “Hi guys! Welcome back!” her grin spreading wide across her face. She was met with a collective groan from the masses and eye rolling enough to make her head hurt.
I think that’s eighth grade for you. I think they are all just at the point where they think teachers are no longer nice or valuable to talk to. I think that’s why I will never teach another grade other than 7th. Maybe it’s silly for me to ramble on about 7th graders when I’m a 27 year old woman, but nothing beats having to go back to work–after a trip in New Zealand! with a boyfriend! whom I haven’t seen in months!–only to be met by 28 smiling faces and hugs and kisses and postcards and “Ms. C!” (Although when they say it, it sounds like this: “Ms. Ceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”) Nothing beats it. They weren’t depressed, they weren’t groaning or acting like it wasn’t cool to talk to me, they weren’t putting on airs or ignoring me. I slapped high fives with one boy, hugged all the others, caught up on vacation time spent in Paris or Rome or Bahia or London…my, do my students get around.
The first event of the morning was a little assembly in which some students were presented with awards for academic achievement. One of the 7th grade teachers was called up to give the awards out and then I was called up to help her. Oh, you should have heard the claps and little voices of my kids as I walked across the gym floor to the center to give them their awards. (“Ms. Ceeeeee! Yea Ms. Ceeeeeeeeee!”) It was lovely. My students made this day incredible. Half way through the day I thought to myself, I could probably do this forever.
My classes went well today, reinforcing some old rules, brushing up on some organization. After this month off I feel like it was just enough to get me back on track. By the end of last quarter I was so scattered that I couldn’t do anything well. Now we have such exciting curriculum to explore–the Renaissance, Navigation, The Scientific Revolution, the Puritans, American colonization, ‘Romeo & Juliet’ (cont’d), Poetry, Film, THE GEOGRAPHY OF CANADA (!!!!!) What’s not to love? I’m as close to ecstatic as possible.
I know this is what you want to say: “The Puritans? Really, Gina? That’s what you call ‘exciting’? I understand Film and Poetry, ‘Romeo & Juliet’, yes, even American colonization–you know with Jamestown and the lost colony and whatnot. But…I mean…Canada?”
And I will say, “Don’t you dare rain on my parade. I’m thrilled to be back with my students, thrilled to work in a place where my kids smile at me, thrilled to feel comfortable at home and have it nice and clean and thrilled to have a refridgerator that no longer houses only avocado halves. I’m back where I want to be and not even Canada can bring me down.”