Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I love Regents week: my former students come back to visit! They were back in droves today, and we've seen one or two earlier this week. As first semester freshmen, they don't have to take any exams yet, and they said they were bored and wanted to come back and see us and help out. They came to my doorway and gave me hugs, and my sixth graders oohed and aahed, so I asked the visitors to introduce themselves and talk a little about high school. They told the kids - and it sounded genuine - to listen to me because if they pay attention in my classes, high school science will be easy. They have high averages, are at the top of their classes. These were mostly kids who liked school well enough, if not every moment of it, but looking back, they have a whole new perspective on middle school, on why we did what we did and how it prepared them. They talk about the reasonable dress code at their high schools, call it "business casual" as though that were part of every 14-year-old's vocabulary. They miss friends who have moved away, but try to keep in touch. They report that a girl who went to boarding school is thriving there, is Miss School Spirit. They use MySpace, but assure me that they only talk to people they already know. They seem healthy, happy, kind, respectful, eager to interact with their former teachers. One girl is interning to become a special ed teacher. Two boys have the highest averages in their classes. Another has been asked to tutor fellow students in social studies. He's also over six feet tall; it's not every day that I feel absolutely dwarfed by a young teenager. Others have lost weight or just grown into their own bodies. I was beaming all day: my kids are doing so well.