A conversation overheard, then understood

6 Jun

The buzz of conversation filled my classroom as the 5-minute break began. Sixth graders clustered in groups and their energy was palpable. Well, there are only three weeks of school left, I thought as I bustled about the room getting things ready for the second half of our 2-hour block.

I scanned the room, looking for trouble (there was non) and paid vague attention to their conversations, until I heard one that piqued my interest.

“Oh gosh!” exclaimed a popular girl. “I have learned SO much this year.More than I learned in all my years of elementary school.”

WOW!  I thought. These kids really recognize and appreciate how hard their teachers work. I felt really proud of myself and my team. We had taken this group of highly gifted young people and given them the educational challenge they needed. Yeah us!

And then I overheard the rest of the conversation.

“I am the most corrupt person in my family,” she went on, bragging, and I realized that she was not talking about the formal education we’d been providing for the last 8 months. She was talking about the informal learning she’d picked up from her peers about life and how it all works. My heart dropped.

And then I laughed at myself.

slice-of-life_individual

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10 Responses to “A conversation overheard, then understood”

  1. Brian Rozinsky June 6, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    What a roller-coaster moment, Adrienne. The rueful inward chuckle seems like a good first response.

  2. arjeha June 6, 2017 at 7:39 am #

    Things are not always as they first appear. Such interesting things we overhear when working the room.

  3. marilynyung June 6, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    Great post! This sounds like me and my middle-schoolers. I think I understand what they’re saying, and then -BOOM!- I’m totally wrong. Happens all the time. Geesh.

  4. beckymusician June 6, 2017 at 8:19 am #

    Yikes! Does she know what corrupt means? Hopefully, eventually your middle schoolers will look back and see how much they have learned in school and how useful it is to their lives. Distance helps perspective, we all know.

  5. kathleentobiasson June 6, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Just when you think you “get” middle schoolers… they change it up! Humor is a teacher’s greatest tool for survival in June.

  6. Lisa Corbett June 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    I bet she’s learned a lot from you too. But she is too corrupt to admit it. 🙂

  7. Christine Baldiga June 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    I agree with Lisa that she has learned much from you! Thanks for the laugh and the reminder of what its like to work with teenagers.

  8. elsie June 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    What a chuckle you gave me. 🙂 Kids do say the darnedest things!

  9. Lorie Barber June 6, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    Love that pivot moment you described! I taught 6th grade for less than a year, and it was wonderful. I’m pretty sure they taught me more than I ever taught them!!

  10. MAK June 6, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    Oh, but you summed up middle school right there. When we think we are ‘teaching’ them content, their most significant growth comes socially. But without dedicated teachers, that growth would not be possible.

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