Friday, January 12, 2007

Cringeworthy memories

Grade 8 was not my best or brightest year at Mary Hill Junior Secondary School. I cringe at the thought of my school photo, I practically cracked the camera lens: the braces, the monochromatic sepia hair in a flattened-mushroom bob, the lack of make-up, the red, skin-tight jeans *shudder* it's no wonder I didn't even register on Dave's* radar.

I honestly don't know what I was thinking, although, having taught grade 8 for three years now, I'm fairly certain that, as a grade 8 student, I was incapable of thinking. Besides, I'm pretty sure that the lack of make-up was most likely my mom's doing. If she only knew what a bit of mascara and lip gloss could have done for my social life!

Things got better in grade 9. I got a perm, (this was a good thing at the time) started wearing Levis and figured out how to smile with braces on. By grade 10 I had things figured out, which set me up nicely for 2 wonderful years at high school.

But back to grade 8... Lately, I've found it strange that I ended up teaching the very grade that brings back the most cringe-worthy memories for me. Sometimes watching the kids interact, particularly during social time, I am right back at Mary Hill. Often these flashbacks make me struggle with my own role as a "serious, responsible pseudo-guardian".

Yesterday, I overheard Sally complaining, "Tommy's so annoying, sometimes I just want to kick him in the junk!" (Tee hee.)

Now, while this is clearly an inappropriate thing to be saying in my class, or in anyone else's for that matter, (Sally, the proper word is "testes",) I can't help but identify with Sally. Tommy IS annoying and I remember thinking EXACTLY THE SAME THING about several boys in my own grade 8 class**. (BTW They SO dezervd it 2 LOL!)

Besides, now that I am a (responsible) adult, I now know that most grade 8 boys can't help it. They've just noticed that girls exist, but have no concept of how to make girls notice them, so they resort to their grade three toolbox of attention-getting techniques: fart jokes, barnyard noises, roughhousing and stealing pencil boxes. It's all very charming.

I'm not sure what my point is, but I guess that I can sum it all up by saying that it's way better TEACHING grade 8 than being in grade 8. It's a small consolation, but I'm not sure that I could say that about teaching any other grade.

* You'll have to ask Karyn about this one. The only thing that makes being a dweeby grade 8 nobody even worse is having a crush on a grade 10 boy.
** Karyn to Greg Jensen: "So, where do you think I would kick you, if I had the chance? Where?"
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