(1) I was explaining to my 5th period class, who I only have for one quarter, that the schedule would be funky at the end of next week because of the state math exams. All of the periods were shortened except for 5th, 6th, and 7th. I got some “yays” about that, and then when I said that didn’t affect us because I only have them until tomorrow because it’s the last day of the quarter. I heard a significant number of disappointed sounds in reaction. I said, “I know, I like you guys a lot. I’m afraid of what kinda turkey class I’m getting next quarter.”
(2) The boys in my 9th period class were being MAJOR assholes today, REALLY disruptive and giving me a hard time. I don’t take it personally, it’s just a big pain in my ass. Anyway, two 7th grade girls (one who is new as of this year, and the other I never hear a peep from) came up to me after class and said, “Ms. Trees, we really don’t like it when the boys act like that…it’s really annoying. And we want you to know that we love chorus and really appreciate what you do every day.”
They couldn’t possibly know how much I needed something like this. I got this kind of sweetness when I taught at an all-girls high school, but it’s something that I just don’t expect at this job because of where they are developmentally. These are 12-13 year olds. It’s still completely normal for them to be totally egocentric (I know I was…okay, I still am, but I’m better at putting myself in others’ shoes and empathizing). It’s perfectly reasonable for them to hate everything about school and never say or show that they like your class…but these sweethearts did it.
I’m seeing internal leaders emerge in my chorus–something that I only really had at a couple points in my career–and I’m happy about it. I’m sure some would see this as a “weak leader” scenario, but I still view classes as groups (in the Yalom sense), so I see internal leaders as a sign of investment, and that’s wonderful.