June 17, 2016

The elevator, the music, and the heart.

Okay so I've finally had long enough to process the end of the school year. Last Friday was the last day of school. Last Thursday was our 8th grade promotion and dance. Both of those things gave me allllll kinds of feels. The end of the year is always a bittersweet time. I'm always really ready for a break, but never quite ready to give up my 8th graders.

This year was no exception. I will say though that this years 8th grade class was and will continue to be much harder for me to let go of. There aren't just a few kids I love out of this class, so many of them walked out of our doors with pieces of my heart going with them. For that reason, I want to share with you some of the things I took away from my time with them.

Never give up. Life wasn't meant to be easy. NOTHING worth having is EVER easy. Because if we had given up I wouldn't have gotten to see one of my kiddos grinning and saying he couldn't stop smiling because he finally got the news he was being promoted (he had confirmed he would be dropping out if he didn't make it). Or the last day of school when he thanked me for all I did for him and me reminding him that I might not be there with him, but I will always be rooting for him. Always. Every kid deserves to meet someone who will never give up on them. Hopefully I'm that someone for many more kids to come.

Cuss words are not really an appropriate answer, but sometimes they kinda are. So ya see...I like to blame this story on Jordan, because without him ignoring my request for a mobile lab I would have never gotten to experience this. To make a long story short and less embarrassing I had to get said mobile lab which was like 23490834 times my weight (ok not that heavy, but it sure wasn't light), then I had to push the mobile lab to the elevator so I could take it to another floor. Lastly, you know how elevators have a censor and aren't supposed to close on things? Yeah well...my arm got stuck in the elevator door. In front of a student. As if that part isn't bad enough, the words that came out of my mouth next were probably the highlight of the entire incident. I will keep those words to myself at this time, but just know sometimes a cuss word is the only thing that makes you feel better and I have a bruise to prove it. (Not 100% learned from a kid, but learned nonetheless.)

Be mindful about the words you use. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Working with teenagers is difficult sometimes and it can get you frustrated to no end. But something that I pride myself on is taking the road less traveled with them, and going out of my way to show them that it is possible to be kind to others even they are not kind to you. Words speak volumes and they hear everything.

Sometimes puttin your big girl panties on and jammin to some gangsta rap really does help solve your problems. This is near and dear to my heart. If you are part of the Marsh family you know who taught me this one. My sweet sweet school child. This girl and I had some SERIOUS growing moments this year. My feelings when it comes to this child changed throughout the year from feeling like I was constantly in charge of making sure the Bull in the China shop doesn't break anything to saving her from CRL (that's when we decided to just jam to some gangsta rap and call it a day). Now I can honestly say I feel like she and I were brought together for a reason and I might actually kind of like her now. Just kidding, I got to watch her grow right in front of my eyes and it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

Be Brave. This one is a special shoutout to my kids. I learned this from watching you persevere in the hardest situations. I learned this when I heard you had seen and experienced things I had only seen on TV. I experienced this firsthand when you finally got the nerve to come see a counselor and when you opened up for the first time. I learned that when it feels like the entire world is against you, as long as you believe in yourself- nobody can stop you. You taught me that. And for that I will forever be grateful.

So to my precious 8th grade babies: you are much more than a class of students moving on to high school. You are an amazing group of kids destined to go out and leave your mark on the world. Lord knows you left your mark on mine.

And now...on to sweet summertime. 
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June 01, 2016

My favorite was a Willy Wonka reference...

A couple weekends ago I found my old 8th grade yearbook. Yes I said old, because it is. I hadn't looked at it forever, but I thought it was funny that I just happened to find it now; not too far away from 8th grade promotion and the last day of school for the year. I flipped through and several different thoughts went through my mind.

Wait, what year is this.
Mental math to really grasp how long ago that was.
OMG, that seems like a long time.
8th grade choir pic: Oh that's not too bad. Sigh of relief.
8th grade school pic: Holy mother of all things sacred why. 
Few random pics: Okay, these are improving.
8th grade swim team pic: Uhhhh......
Overall experience:

Immediately the thought of my favorite rockstar students seeing it made me cringe. Then I remembered a couple things: I have little shame (working with middle schoolers will do that to a person), I love a good laugh (even if it's at my own expense), and I know my kids are sure to deliver some great entertainment with their commentary about my yearbook and especially my pictures.

***Disclaimer. The following commentary is 100% completely a joke. Before showing the yearbook to any student I prefaced it with, "I want to show you my 8th grade yearbook that I found, look at it and tell me your first thought. Be honest it won't hurt my feelings at all. All while laughing because anyone who knows me knows when I have something funny up my sleeve I can't wait to see it pan out.***

You thought I was going to insert the picture here didn't you?

I said I have little shame people. There's a tiny bit left. Showing my 8th graders is 1 thing. Showing the whole world? I'll have to think on it....

Anyways, here's the good stuff. You're welcome in advance.

-You don't look the same.
-That's not you.
-I think if your hair was shorter you might look like a boy.
-Miss, this is how people dressed then???
-Like, this is real?
-You was pretty....sort of.
-Why do you look like that?
-You played sports?

I was thoroughly entertained by all of the stuff they were saying as they were thumbing through my old yearbook. Don't worry- I didn't show them only to get a good laugh. I like to use old pictures and things of this nature to talk with them about growing, learning, changing, etc as well as not judging a book by it's cover, and even sometimes to encourage them that they can be whoever they want to be. It just always has an added laugh when I use my own pictures.

Plus, it's nice to show my students I exist outside of the Marsh. I know sometimes it's hard for them to believe I actually leave work and don't live in a crawl space under my desk.

To all my educator friends out there, especially My Marsh family- we're almost there. Stay strong!

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