Tuesday morning, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. That's the time I should be on the road. Lucky thing I had all of my clothes out the night before and ready to go. I was out the door by 7:15 and made to work at 8:00 sharp. Lucky thing I had my papers all ready to go so I just had to pop into my classroom and open the door.
I have just got to tell ya... My seventh graders are the cutest things in the whole world. They were waiting in the classroom at 8:05 a.m. Did you know school doesn't start until 8:25? So yeah, they stared at me while I walked around the classroom making sure everything was ready for them. At 8:25, they were disappointed to see that I have a seating chart. I know... pretty lame eh? The truth of the matter is that if they sit by whom they want to sit by... They won't learn a thing. For some reason, they're too focused on figuring out ways to talk about lunch rather than listen to my mini-lecture on semi-colons. Which is totally weird because everyone knows that semi-colons are awesome.
I loved meeting my new students. They have such cute puppy-dog faces. I think this year's batch made more of an impression on me because I'm a little more sure of myself. I am more focused on them than on me. I can see them more clearly because I am not nervous. I could tell the difference between seventh graders and eighth graders. Last year, everyone seemed to be a blur for me. I couldn't tell ya what I thought of any of my students on my first day... only they were pretty disappointed I wasn't as cute as their previous teacher... Out with the new and in with the old... Pretty lame for them.
Last year's seventh graders still seem young to me, but they are so tall. They are taller than me. I used to think I was a tad tall, but now, I must tell you I AM SHORT compared to these kids. They take being older so seriously. I lay that on thick.. "Just because I say you can chat for three minutes does not mean you should get up and do jumping jacks." These beautiful girls are more beautiful. These funny boys are even funnier then last year. I wonder if I will connect with these eighth graders as much as I did last year's?
I miss last year's eighth graders with all of my heart. I will tell you that at the beginning of last year I thought these kids were some of the worst kids in the whole world. By the end of the year, they stole my heart.
I found these kids to be kindred spirits. I remember reading stories with them and choking back tears as we were discussing the characters. I could let a tear or two fall in front of these kids as we talked about life lessons from the stories. Some of those kids told me things about themselves that made me cry sobs of tears behind closed doors.
I tell you I appreciated the hugs from these kids on the first days of school. They will always be my eighth graders even when they invite me to their graduations, and even when they invite me to their weddings. Just as I will always think of Natalie and Allison as my babies, I will think of these darlings as my eighth graders.