It’s hard to talk about working with middle schoolers, hence the reason I haven’t been. After my first week of school, I tried to write something, but it came out all wishy-washy and rose-coloured. I sounded like some naïve girl who thought that every interaction she had with a kid was magical. When I tried to change this though, I sounded like a whiny git who was ungrateful for the opportunity that she had been afforded.
School was awesome, and I loved it. I loved watching my teacher instruct the class and helping kids with their work. I liked the days when my teacher came in late because of job interviews, and I got to be in charge. I loved getting to play silly games in music and theatre class with a group of people who didn’t think they were stupid. Watching the way that some of my students threw themselves into the challenges given to them in class was pretty amazing.
At the same time, telling the same four kids to be quiet, listen up, keep their hands to themselves, and do their work at least three times every day was not so much fun. Despite the fact that they had learned the concept in kindergarten, my class never once managed to get into a single-file line. Having a boy talk back to you over something so simple as you asking him to please take his head off of his desk was annoying to say the least. On parent night, when we had the kids for eleven hours in one day, I actually thought my head might explode.
In the end, I would describe my experience at summer school the same way that I would describe my kids: exciting, exhausting, frustrating, yet also fantastic. Just like them, sometimes I was apathetic, but at others I was enthusiastic, and as much as we all complained, in the end, we hugged and admitted that we loved summer school very much and would miss it on Monday.
Katie Patterson ’15