I feel like this needs to start with an explanation. The real purpose of this exercise was for the school administrators to gain insight through several outside perspectives and then we met with them Monday evening to give them our feedback. Let me be perfectly clear. I loved our school before Monday. No school is perfect, but in my opinion, our school is exceptional. We may not be "acing the state's report card" but who cares? I certainly don't. Our school is operated under a leadership in such a way that we have no school fees, no sports fees, and free preschool. We have full time Resource Officers, who not only offer our students a high level of protection, but also became their friends. We've managed to avoid the political correct crap, and our school has maintained a small town family feel, and our community is better for it. The very fact that they invited us in to participate in this exercise shows a genuine transparency and desire to serve our students to the best of their ability. But after spending an entire school day on the inside, I can now tell you firsthand how much those teachers care about their students, going above and beyond the educational side of things, and doing their best to make sure their physical, social, and emotional needs are covered as well.
So that's where I stand on that, but I'm sure you're well aware that my objective in participating was two-fold...to go beyond my surroundings, go deeper into my personal experiences in those surroundings, and then write about it. You won't see any teachers' or kids' names, partly to respect their privacy, but mainly because this part isn't really about them. These blog entries are strictly pointing out my observations of me in that environment, and then hopefully give us all something to laugh about, and just maybe, you'll come away feeling really smart in comparison.
When we left off, I was walking out the door to 7th grade, with a backpack lovingly packed by Kearstin, with loose leaf paper and several extra firm mechanical pencils, because apparently people don't use regular pencils anymore, and I tend to squeeze a pencil tight, push down harder than necessary, and break a lot of lead. For some reason, I'm not that shocked by this, are you? Then she threw in a couple of big pink erasers "in case you have Math."
I arrived at the office, received my schedule, and the principal was kind enough to keep my back pack in her office so that I wouldn't have to mess with a locker. One less risk of having to kick something is never a bad thing. Then she walked me to my 1st period class and told me it was "Play dough lab." Are you freakin' kidding me? I'll totally rock play dough lab. Then I was seated at a table facing the wall, with zero signs of play dough in sight, and I could feel the stares of kids around the room boring into my back. Cue the flop sweats. Holy crap, I'm 46 years old, and way too cool to be fighting back tears right now because I'm literally living the 7th grade nightmare. The announcements came on and everyone knew to jump up and face the flag for The Pledge Of Allegiance...except me. I was about 4 beats behind. So now they probably think I'm the old lady weirdo and an unpatriotic one at that. I've never felt so judged by 13 year olds in my entire life. Then we all went back to facing the wall. I looked down at my schedule to see that "Play Dough Lab" is spelled "Plato Lab." That cleared up nothing, but it took away all hope of anything good happening in this room. Fifteen minutes into class, I finally leaned over to the girl beside me and whispered, "What is this class?" She whispered back, "Study hall." Study hall? First period? Who does that? So then I sat there staring at the profile of the girl who answered my question while she pretended not to notice. Wait a minute. Is she...??? Could it be...??? Is that my Zumba bestie's daughter??? So I leaned over and whispered again and it was!! SCORE. I made my first 7th grade friend. *Fist bump*
Okay, they don't fist bump here. Cool. Now I know.
2nd PERIOD- SCIENCE
I was late to class. I had to pee and somebody thought it'd be a great idea to put the bathrooms all the way on the other side of the building from the 7th grade wing and 3 minutes goes fast and I'm done explaining myself to you, okay? But the teacher didn't write my name on the board or anything, so that's good, right? I shared a Science table with my new super good friend from Plato and 2 of her super good friends, which means by 8:42am, I had 3 super good friends. They were studying the food chain and we played an interactive game. We each had to draw a piece of paper from a cup to see what energy source we'd be. There were sunflowers, mice, snakes, raccoons, and one cougar. Dear God, I'm a 46 year old woman in a classroom of 13 year olds, please don't let me draw the cougar. I drew a mouse and breathed a sigh of relief. Then we had to walk around the room until it was time to "feed." (Insert images of the Twilight series running through my head here.) If I "ate" somebody, I got 2 energy points. If I got "eaten", I lost 4. Science and Math. That's....um...awesome. *dry heave* In summary, I was a mouse, so I got eaten all the damn time, I found myself armpit deep in negative numbers, had eraser crumbs all over my paper, screwed up my entire chart, and when the teacher looked at me and asked if there was a mouse who'd like to write her numbers on the board, she quickly moved on when I started violently shaking my head back and forth. Bless her.
3rd PERIOD- MATH
Here we go. Don't throw up.
She sat me beside a boy who looked at me like I might've drawn the cougar in Science. The boy in front of me turned and slowly looked back and forth between me and the boy next to me, like maybe it was 'bring your mom to school day' and he missed the memo. I broke the awkward silence and said, "I'm not with him. He probably wants you to know that," and then he silently turned back around, thus making it even more awkward. I have that effect on people. Then they got to choose partners one at a time and guess who was last pick? *Flashback to 1983 kickball in gym class* And because levels of awkward can always get higher, I was paired up with the boy in front of me. But back to Math. I don't wanna toot my own horn or anything, and it should be made clear that all credit goes to the teacher, but after only 50 minutes, I can do a dot plot like a boss. No, seriously. I can differentiate the shape, find the median, and compare the spread of 2 different dot plots, and I can tell you what the outliers are, too, but only if you want. Are you impressed? If not, I feel like you might not be comprehending the magnitude of the situation. "Let's make a dot plot!" said no one in real life, ever. But I told my husband the engineer that I'm gonna find a way to use it. He replied, "I use dot plots all the time at work."
Oh. Em. Gee. I could totally do my husband's job now.
4th PERIOD- ART
If you know how much I suck at Math, you should see me draw things. I single handedly debunk that whole right brain or left brain theory. So Monday we learned how to shade balls. (How was I the only 7th grader in that room snickering?) Technically, it was an orange because the teacher didn't have any balls. (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.) He worked hard with me. He traced my balls. (Stop. This is serious.) He labeled one and showed me some various shade techniques. Through no fault of his, mine came out looking like a scribbled boob. I blame the mechanical pencil. (So basically, Kearstin.)