I have been crazy busy teaching the sixth grade. I am now officially certified to teach all of the core subjects for grades 4-8, but right now I’m only teaching English and Science. I love my job and I love my students. I have the unique opportunity to actually get to know my students. The entire sixth grade consists of less than 22 students. This is smaller than most of one of my classes when I was teaching for a large public school.
I get to know my students and I am seeing a lot of echoes of my own Middle School experiences. Did anyone have a fabulous time as a 6th-8th grader? I certainly didn’t. I was a very awkward kid at the best of times and during the worst of times I was smarter but felt less appealing than most of my fellow students. When I was in the seventh grade most of the class just decided to stop talking to me. I have no idea why, but I suspect it was mean girl related. I went to Catholic school, but there are cliques everywhere. Fortunately at that point in my life I had the best teacher I would ever have, Sister Collette Ross. She kept me busy and kind of above all of that. But it still hurt to be excluded, so I know how some of my kids feel.
Especially after last weekend. I was invited to a bachelorette evening for a member of the book club I am a part of. I know the Maid of Honor very well as some of the other attendants, and I have a close acquaintanceship with the Bride. As the evening developed I started to realize that I was the only one at this celebration who wasn’t also invited to the wedding. I understand having to keep numbers down and all and I wasn’t taking it too personally until further conversations revealed that certain fringe members of the group had also been invited. Suddenly I felt like that awkward chubby seventh grader except now I don’t have a mouthful of braces and no one is calling my fat to my face. The lost, lonely and left out feeling was sealed when everyone began talking about going home to their respective partners and sweeties. My sweetie and I are in the relatively new-ish part of our relationship, but we will be getting a shared cellular plan when he returns from his Wild West tour of the Virginia State Fair. Which of course means that he wasn’t home to welcome me and pat me and hold me until I coo with delight and forget that I for a few hours I spent a total of $65 dollars and five hours and a face full of make-up to feel like I was twelve years old.
But now I remember what feels like to be left out and I can keep that from happening to any of the handful of kids I see on a regular basis.
I started my day with a recap of last night’s Presidential Debate. I really just wanted to see if I needed to carry my passport with me or which horseman of the apocalypse would be stampeding over the horizon first. I saw an interview with a Middle School teacher. When asked what she would say to the Nominees she said, “Answer the question and stop talking.”
Sometimes the middle is the place with the best view