Thursday, March 09, 2006

Loss of Innocence

The sixth graders began their transformation into seventh graders this week. Looking back, there were warning signs - changes in social behavior, quality of work slipping, increased bouts of rudeness. And the theft of a girl's cell phone, followed by prank phone calls to her mother by a child claiming to be our pregnant art teacher. Omens, indeed. My sweet babies, changelings: eye-rolling, gum-popping, cat-fighting, homework-neglecting, hallway-dawdling darlings. My inner anthropologist wonders if it is inexorable, or a product of our society's creation of adolescence, or of our school's social structure. My inner sixth grade team leader vows that we will get them back, those children we once knew. My inner - and outer - pissed off teacher self yelled at them (really yelled at them) for the first time today... oops. I know full well that isn't going to improve the situation.

On the bright side, in spite of it all, a few kids in one class decided, unprompted, that they'd done enough research and began writing their essays about energy resources. Wait, I said, use this, and handed those kids the outline worksheets that I'd been planning to use tomorrow. Hands began to go up as the period ended. Can I start my outline, too? We'll get 'em back. Or we'll go with them and come out the other side. They'll be okay.

School this week has sucked. Life in general, pretty good. Glamour informs me that I am a somnorexic - deny myself sleep on weeknights, binge on weekends. And reading the health risks in black & white made me want to do better. And yes, I not only read Glamour, I subscribe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew I was a seventh grader the day I was called out into the hall with the principal over a feud I'd been having with two girlfriends. (Not physical, though. Sadly, I never reached that level of cool.)

3:30 PM  
Blogger graycie said...

I read somewhere (how's that for scholarly rigour? that all humans follow and imitate their elders (parent, sibs, other tribe members) until they are about 10-12 yearsold. Then they turn towards each other and focus on age peers. In their late teens or early twenties they turn back to the larger social groups which is composed of all ages. I don't think it's this hard-and-faast, but I agree this is a strong tendency.

6:04 PM  
Blogger jcrit said...

My inner anthropologist wonders if it is inexorable, or a product of our society's creation of adolescence, or of our school's social structure.

All of the above.

We had a crazy time this week with seventh grade girls. A couple dozen of them started this "insta-fad" of scratching their arms with a razor blade. When the s--t hit the fan yesterday, you never saw so many people freaking out over it- including me. Today, I realized that it was a bit of overraction, and I talked to one of my homebase kids who were in on it, and we both flashed tears of contrition at each other. Tears of contrition between a 7th grader and a teacher are as rare as snow in the desert. Shades of sixth grade!

7:40 PM  

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