It’s been two and a half years since working with junior high kids and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but sometimes I miss it. Or maybe it’s more that I miss the stories that came from being around junior high kids.
Today we went to a “Knights of the Round Table” ceremony for Coleman and other middle school students. His school mascot is a knight and the ceremony is held to honor students who have been nominated by a teacher for something outstanding; being a leader, great improvement, something that makes them standout. Coleman was honored for his improvement in Spanish. He was struggling and had missing assignments, but turned things around and now has a B in the class. We were very proud parents as we listened to his teacher explain why she had chosen him for this award.
Student after student was called to stand in front of the group while their teacher honored each one. I watched each student walk up, shyly, and listen to the kind and proud words that were spoken. Most of them stood awkwardly, some of them even let out a smile while hearing of their accomplishments. I loved watching every one of them receive their honor, certificate, and have their photo taken. And I loved those teachers for making their students feel so special.
Middle school, junior high, whatever you like to call it, is rough. So much awkward, so much drama, so many smells. One of the things I miss are the conversations. Oh the endless comments that would come out of their mouths. After hours in a van with ten other kids and a very short lull in the conversation, one of them said, “I bet if I stopped talking for just a few minutes things would get so lame.” I wanted to take her up on that bet, but decided against it.
Once, after returning from a retreat in a very long van ride, I was describing the things I had endured to a friend of mine. “Ah yes,” she said. “The days where every kid is interrupting another to share their tall tales of stupidity.” I never thought I’d miss it, but on occasion, I do. I 100% do not miss the smells though.