I can’t remember the last time I opened a locker. That is until today. After three days of Middle School I am officially a locker jam pro. By pro I mean I have basically opened three lockers for kids.
In my first two days I spent much of my time feeling fairly useless. I didn’t have any students in my lab, so I ventured out to where the kids were to find them and start seeing the faces I would see every day. The first few kids asked me for directions to their homeroom. At that point I was still pretty lucky to find my room and the rooms of the teachers I am seeing every day. The best I could do was point those students to another teacher down the hall. That was a frustrating feeling. Then later that day, I had another kid with a broken locker. I managed to help him leave a note for his teacher to get his locker changed.
While I did find work helping lots of teachers, I felt somewhat useless for the kids on the first two days. It was frustrating, but I was happy to have the opportunity to spend most of my day with kids the following day.
Today was fun. I basically taught the same lesson four times to four different groups of students. It was interesting how it was different each time. What I loved most about my new group of students was how many of them already felt comfortable opening up some discussion. We took a Kahoot quiz on digital citizenship, I didn’t write it, but it seemed decent. Some of the questions unintentionally opened up an interesting discussion about safety, about sharing and reporting inappropriate content they see, and how many of them are finding friendship in online communities. If today is any precursor to how our discussions will go in the future, I am excited that we will get some great discussions in the future.
It wasn’t all great, there were plenty of times where they stared at me blankly trying to figure out who I was and what I was selling. I had some log in issues, some timing issues with the largest class, and a number of things I changed from one period to the next. I learned a lot today, and I will learn a lot more going forward for sure.
By the end of today, I felt like I had made some positive connections. The last interaction I had with a student left me on a down feeling. It was with a student I had started making a good connection with (at least on my end). She was in the hall after school and told me she had to stay after. I said, “Stay after? Already?” While I was thinking about after school activities, her response was, “I don’t have a detention or anything” and went on to explain what she was doing. That seems harmless to most, but to me I was upset. Her first thought was that I assumed she was in trouble. I hope that will change. I hope when I ask these kids what they are doing, that their first response won’t be to defend themselves from trouble, but to explain what good things they are doing.
Ultimately, I loved my first day with the kids. I have lots to learn. They will hopefully learn a lot about me, and in the end, I hope they start to realize: I am on their team. Whether it’s lockers, lost things, or something more serious, my main goal is to make sure they know I will do anything I can to help them.