Last year I had a funny, snot-nosed brat who loved wisecracks and flipping plastic bottles (a real obsession with middleschoolers last year). Last week, a giant eighth-grader came loping down the hall toward me.
I was wearing one of my “new” sweaters, a green one with a white deer leaping in the center. I don’t know what he was wearing because I didn’t have binoculars to see above the first mile of legs.
“Hey, Missus,” he called down with a grin, “it’s not Ugly Sweater Day!” (Translation: It’s good to see you, Miss B!)
“It’s not Ugly Kid Day, either,” I replied, “but here we are.” (Translation: Nice to see you, [name redacted])
He burst into laughter and yelled, “You roasted me!” (Translation: You still love me!)
“You roasted me first.” (Translation: You love me more, you monster.)
I have been pleasantly surprised by the members of the Middle School Mafia who are under my
control supervision at The Young Human Factory. I have only twice been subjected to rage and unspoken threats, and one of those came from a parent.
In fact, they show a delightful willingness to throw themselves into the deep end of the pool of knowledge and understanding. The following are first-semester highlights:
- “I am good at spelling, reading and riting.” (On a very confident self-assessment!)
- “Do ‘women of color’ come in all colors or just some colors?” (Asked by a student categorized as POC and when the term was explained, said dubiously, “Isn’t that racist?”)
- A drawing of a girl and a bucket of water. (A response to “What image comes to mind when you think of the protagonist? Write a brief response.”)
- “Is there a movie of this book?” – pause to hear “no” – “We should read another book.” (This was followed by an explanation of how tech-using kids today need to have audio and visual versions because reading letters on a page is something people did before the invention of cellphones.)
Summer is coming, and the neighborhood is abounding in life. Enormous dragonflies – the sort that usually abound as summer turns to fall – flit and hover like helicopters in the open spaces of yards and gardens. Toads and voles flee from lawnmowers.
And children…. Continue reading