This is why I love teaching middle school.
“We’re getting sooooo oldddd!” a girl exclaimed as she adjusted her ribbons. “Miss E! We’re all turning 14! Our lives are nearly over!”
“I know! Our teenage years are NEARLY FINISHED!” a friend chimed in.
I laughed and laughed and laughed.
“If you think 14 is old, do you think I’m practically dead?” I asked them.
“No, but, um…” they trailed off, unsure of what to say.
“You’re super cool…for an old lady!”
My stomach is growling insanely due to the damn diet and the fact that I am freaking hungry every minute of the day, and I bent over a kid helping him with his works cited page.
“Eeewww, did you just fart?!” he asked after a particularly ferocious growl.
“No! I swear!” I exclaimed. “My stomach is just growling!”
“Haha…Miss E just farted!” he yelled to the whole class.
I defended myself valiantly, until a tiny girl piped up and said, “Hey, even teachers gotta fart!”
I DIDN’T FART. But the kids sure laughed.
“Miss E, I’m going to die!” she said. “I don’t want to go to high school!”
My student slumped with her face in her hands, and tears filling her dark brown eyes.
“You’re gonna love it!” I told her. “You will forget all about middle school after one week in high school, I promise…”
She asked me if she could visit me, and what would happen in her English class next year and if I’d still help with her writing. As she went to hug me goodbye before her next class, I told her that the next 10 years of her young life would be the best, the most rife with possibility and choices.
She smiled and said, “I just hope I make the right ones…”
Me too, kiddos. Me too.