Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Middle School Hodgepodge

I love middle school. It's a wonder to me why I never thought to teach it before. Subbing frequently in the same middle school has opened my eyes to a whole world of kids that I just love being around. Maybe it's their awkwardness. I don't know... but I adore them.

Today was the first day back to the middle school.

Aside from having no lesson plans, the day went well. I started out at the elementary school and drove a few blocks to the middle school at lunch. This particular teacher splits her days between each school. I was familiar with her position and students she had in her classroom.

I started out with lunch duty. Basically, watch all the eighth graders cut in line and pretend like you don't see them doing it. Proceed to send them to the back of the line and make sure they aren't throwing food. Pretty basic. A bunch of those eighth graders knew me. I heard one kid say, "You had your baby" but I ignored and didn't make eye contact. A boy tells me he remembers me because I'm the one who issued him a detention. Really? Gosh, can't remember. Then another group of girls. This time, more awkward.

girl: Did you have your baby?
me: Yep.
girl: What was his name again?
me: Andrew.
girl: Oh yeah, that's right. I remember that day in science when you wouldn't tell us as we tried really hard to guess....

No need to insert the "but he's dead" in there.

I managed to get through one class without anyone asking and then 8th period came. New group of kids:

girl: Oh, you had your baby! Did you bring pictures? I want to see them!
boy: Oh yeah. That's right. You were going to have a baby.
me: Yeah, but I don't have pictures to show you.
girl: Why not?
me: My baby was sick.
girl: Well, is he getting better?
boy: Is he getting better? Is he going to live?
me: Well, no.
boy: So he's going to die?
me: He already died.
girl: That happened to my cousin. Her baby died too.
boy: When did he die?
me: He was not born alive.
boy: He died inside of you?
girl: Oh, so you had a miscarriage?
me: Well, no---
girl: Let's stop talking about this. It's probably making you sad. I'm sorry.
me: Bad things happen and I'm really sad he died, too. But we have to move forward. Good things will happen again even though I am sad about this. {...hands out sheet on area/perimeter and proceeds to teach}

Love that girl. I was actually pretty comfortable talking about him with them.

Around 2 p.m., the students had an assembly done by this woman. I am still not sure what to make of her personally, but the advice she gave to students about bullying was pretty great. Her stories seemed a bit over the top, but I hope it impacted some kids and gave them a voice. Even if she exaggerated her story a bit like this blogger suggests, I hope it hit home to some students that they don't deserve to be treated poorly by anyone.

The reason I mention... during her talk she asked the entire audience to close their eyes and to "think back to the worst day of your life." Well, then she went on to talk about bullying and the time you were bullied being the worst day of your life. All I needed to hear was "worst day of your life" and my mind was off on its own journey. Of course we all know where my mind went-- straight back to that triage room in the hospital on December 5. The time where my doctor told me she was sorry and my son did not have a heartbeat. I had to hold the tears in but managed to divert my attention to a time when I was bullied after a brief "going there" moment.

I have three distinct memories from my childhood of bullying. Ironically, they all happened when I was in elementary/middle school-- not high school.

Memory 1: being forcefully dunked underwater at Monsoon Lagoon-- a small water park that is no longer open in Redondo Beach, CA. One of the adult supervisors was the one dunking me! Little did he know how that affected me emotionally. To this day I still have a fear of water.

Memory 2: sitting in Mrs. Goldstein's 6th grade social studies classroom and hearing the voices of my classmates after finding out I just started my period (tmi, sorry) yell... "Brandy, what period is it?", "What period is after social studies, Brandy?" I was mortified. I felt so embarrassed that my body was turning into a woman's body. I'm so thankful for that gift now... because that is what allows me the opportunity to bear children, God willing.

Memory 3: standing on the playground with my two "friends" Angeline and Sara in 6th grade-- both wore makeup at this point and I did not. They made fun of me for not wearing mascara. It doesn't sound all that traumatic now... not sure why I was even hurt by that. It does go to show that to children, no matter how big or small we think the issue is, it might matter a whole lot to them. We should never discount their feelings.

So, there you have it. My hodgepodge. Quite the writeup of randomness, but it's what was streaming through my brain today.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so glad you were able to get through your day, and that the "girl" had enough sense to recognize your sadness.

Re: bullying, I remember those days well. I actually remember being picked on for not wearing a bra in the 8th grade... to be fair, I didn't need one. lol.

boo and stacy arnold said... [Reply to comment]

I can't believe the adult supervisor was the dunker....

In sixth grade a shot a basket in the wrong basket during a basketball game and from then on I was called.... Wrong Way Rudd. Poor me.

On the subbing topic- I used to sub in college for a high school. I wrote my name on the board...Ms. Rudd. I then passed out the math exams and heard giggling....I looked back on the board and some wise cracker jack changed it to Mr. Rudd..... Go ahead laugh because, it is pretty funny.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

You have such a good way of sharing stories - makes it seem like I was there! I'm sorry about the questions. I haven't had one recently, but the last one was probably about 6 months or so after our son was born. Just someone asking "Hey! How's the baby doing?" . . . "unfortunately, he passed away". It's something no one should ever have to say and I'm sorry you are in this boat too!

d.a.r. said... [Reply to comment]

You are a really great writer.

And those kids sound precious and so sweet.