09 December 2011

My 8th Graders: A Tribute

My kids frequently ask which class is my favorite. I pull that old mom trick and tell them, "You're all my favorite, just for different reasons."

So today, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my favorite 8th graders: they're the funniest group by far, the perfect blend of humor and compassion and weirdness. The dynamics of a four-kid class could be really awkward if it didn't contain the right personalities, but theirs just fit.


One of them, whom I frequently refer to as "Leprechaun," has a sharp, quick wit. When he misspelled a word on yesterday's vocab quiz, his friend jokingly scribbled, "Learn to spell!" across his paper. Leprechaun, noticing that the boy had misnumbered his own paper, wrote back, "Learn to count!" And they both burst into laughter.

That second boy, he has a tender heart. His inordinate amount of compassion sometimes leaves him upset when something bad happens to a character in a book. The other day, hunters were pacing the fields across from school, dead rabbits dangling from their belts. He ran to the window, crying, "Go home! Don't kill the animals!"

It was the idea of turtle soup that had him reeling today. "I can't believe it. Turtle soup. Why would they do that? They're eating turtles! I have four turtles!"

And Leprechaun, deadpan, turns to him. "Well, now you have three."

My third boy sings non-stop. If ever I find a Disney song trapped in my brain at 11:00, I know it's him I have to thank. He sings and laughs, laughs and sings. Meanwhile, my girl takes it all in stride. She's mostly quiet, though she likes to jump in now and then, stirring the pot or setting the boys straight.

Most days, something like this happens: Boy 3 (who is reading Things Not Seen, about an invisible boy) is trying to explain to the others why the main character has to walk around naked. (Because it's more awkward to wear clothes and not have a visible face than it is to walk around without clothes and avoid all notice--of course!) This devolves into a hilarious conversation of which I don't remember much, except that it ends with me sitting at my desk, shaking my head silently and laughing.

"Look at Ms. C. She's laughing at us."

"She always laughs at us."

Then they all laugh, too. This is third period. This is 8th grade.

I love it.

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