- The 9th grade boys who couldn't wait to get out of the "stupid" middle school and into the real world quickly realized how insignificant a high school boy can be
- The 8th grade kids who complained all last year about how much reading and work I gave them all came back to tell me how easy my class was compared to 9th grade. Last laugh.
- My gifted penis artist from last year is now incarcerated on a variety of offenses, but vandalism wasn't one of them, surprisingly
- One of my girls stayed almost an hour after school telling me about how her and her best friend got in a huge fight about her friend starting to do drugs and now they don't talk.
- One of our punk 9th graders from last year is counting down the days until he can drop out
- A bunch of my boys from last year smoke copious amounts of pot. COPIOUS AMOUNTS.
- One of my girls from last year who really struggled came down to tell me she's getting an A in Geography this year so far and plans to get an A all year! Awesome!
- One of the boys from last year used to take pictures of me during class, especially when I'd bend over. Allegedly there are photos on Instagram, although I can't confirm that.
- One of my girls told me her parents went through an ugly divorce and now her dad yells at her every night about how much she costs to raise.
- One shy girl, a girl very under-my-radar, at parent teacher conferences said "I brought my mom to meet you because you're my favorite teacher!" Blindsided me in a good and guilty way.
Sometimes I forget with all the extreme perfume/cologne, laziness and cartoon genitalia, that these kids actually do have tough lives. Middle school isn't easy, and neither is figuring out who you are on this crazy planet. Bullying is real. Drugs are dangerous. School is hard. Families can suck.
180 days seems like such a long time. But I already look back at my kids from last year and think "That went by so fast. I had almost no time with you." I'm in this weird position where I love these kids so much, but I only see them for 45 minutes and its 90% academic & behavior. BUT I care so much about their social and emotional well-being and futures. BUT I have no control over it and very little influence on it during the times I see them.
Seeing these old students and recognizing that A. The year flies by. and B. Their lives are so much more than just school, helps give me much needed perspective on what it means to be a teacher and what's really important.
Is the world gonna end if they don't know who Nathaniel Bacon is? No.
But it might if they feel like no one loves or respects them. If they feel like no one believes in them and wants them to succeed.
It's important to me that these kids feel love and respect every day. It's important that they know they can succeed. And it's important that they know finishing high school without doing drugs is walking through a door that will lead to happiness.
It's also important to me that no more students snap pics of my backside, so I'm increasingly vigilant this year. Snapchatters beware.