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The funny thing about 8th grade

22 Mar

I am teaching 8th grade this week. Sixth graders at my school have gone to Outdoor School and, for several reasons, I opted not to go and swapped places with an 8th grade Humanities teacher who was eager to go. I haven’t taught grade eight since the 1988-89 school year – my first year of teaching.

I was mostly surprised by how quietly they work. I think it is partly due to their maturity, but mostly, I think it is because they are allowed to work and listen to music. Most students have headphones in and follow the classroom rule of phones face down, one earbud in, one out. I know some of them are on sites other than those they are supposed to be, but they all switch back and work again once I swing past to observe and answer questions. They are all getting done what needs to be done, even of they take occasional detours.

They were working so quietly and so focused yesterday that I sat at my desk a little more, scoring some papers. Suddenly the silence of the room was broken by “Macho Man” by The Village People. The room erupted in laughter. I made a joke about an 80’s flashback. The red-faced student apologized. And then everyone went right back to work.

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