Before Christmas, my boss and I joked that we were just slouching towards Bethlehem – simply focusing on getting our bodies in one piece to the holiday break. This year of teaching has been difficult and taxing due to the huge learning curve of first year teachers. In a fit of desperation, I made a list this year about all of the things that seemed easier than herding preteens into learning things:
(All student names have been changed).
If you think your workplace was depressing the day after the election, imagine having to explain Trump’s election to a group of children. That task awaited me on November 9.
If you need your ego stroked on a daily basis, do not teach seventh grade.
Fifth graders are cute enough to make you presents. Seniors in high school are old enough to want to be like you. Seventh graders want nothing to do with you. You know somewhere deep down in their hormonal little hearts they harbor some love and affection for you, but they will never show it.
Do not teach seventh grade if you are afraid to be silly in front of pre-teens. If you are not willing to answer the question, “Ms. J-T, do you know how to dab?” by demonstrating your awful dance skills, causing twenty-eight youngsters to pee themselves with laughter, then don’t even think about it.
The other day, I pictured the decade ahead and realized, “I’ll probably have kids in ten years. Okay.”
Then I recoiled and thought, “Okay?? What do you mean okay? Why am I not horrified at the possibility of growing, birthing, and raising another human?”
I guess it means I’ve grown up.
Somewhere above the clouds
between Boston and DC
Glamour’s Cindi Leive asks:
“Some of the most successful women I interview
that they’re doing what they loved doing at seven years old.”
For reasons I cannot fathom at present, I once told a job interviewer that I could “make the students into baby feminists.” Needless to say, I was not hired.
But today I got to witness a baby feminist in my midst reading the text I came to love last year. Today, like the best of days, I felt like the Grinch.
Before I can talk about what I’m doing as a teacher, I need to fill you in on what I went through as a student.
I had the privilege of listening to two middle school boys study for their civics test today.
One of them called Betty Friedan “Betty Freedman,” but it’s not bad because their civics curriculum teaches them about feminism!
Middle school boasting: “You know about the feminists and the environmentalists but I know about the Black Panthers, you fool!”