That's my newly coined word for the years between 11 and 14...copyrighted, okay? Nah, just kidding. Anyway, today our "team" (the various subject area teachers for half the 8th grade) took our kids to a nearby park for a treat day; well, it was only really just for one period after lunch, but it was a perfect length of time. It was meant for a bit of a reward for those kids who had been putting in effort over the quarter, and wonderfully surprisingly, we had only 21 kids stay back out of about 150. Brought ice cream sandwiches and a couple of footballs and Frisbees, and let them loose. Well, they were amazing. It is a teeny park, but they kept it clean, didn't run wild, respected each other's space, etc. In fact, they kind of let their inner little kids out and just flat out played. I know that their ILK aren't very far from the surface at age 13, but they try so hard to be cool and grownup, it's heartwarming to see. They wanted to make sure that we watched them build sandcastles, swing, go down the slides...and it dawned on me how important all sorts of adults are in childrens' lives (or teendrens'). They crave the attention, and if it's not positive, they'll go for the negative---an easy trap to fall into.
There was also this charming mother of a smaller child there who, when offered an extra ice cream sandwich for her kid sneered back, "I don't let my child eat ANY sugar"; she also made a point of finding out what school we were from and asking why we were here (in a public park, but anyway). It steams me so much, this anti-teenager attitude---these kids weren't breaking playground equipment, stomping on plants, and smoking pot, they were enjoying themselves and being incredibly well behaved.
Here's my impassioned plea to everyone out there: please don't forget that we were all that crummy age before, and the vast majority of kids are really good kids, and they don't deserve the low expectations we seem to have of them.
I guess the point of this Huzzah is certainly to compliment my students and tell them that I love them, but it's also to thank all my family and friends who take an interest in my darling daughter...because she will hopefully grow up with such an abundance of positive attention, she won't crave the negative.
Have a great weekend.
by at November 15, 2002 5:29 PM