So I guess this is the catch up entry, the one where I tell you about the last nine weeks of my life because I was too busy to barely breathe for a second, never mind write an entry.
Or... I'll just give you a list? Maybe things I learned, which is apt, because I spent the last eight weeks working at Breakthrough Cambridge (BTC), a middle school summer teaching program where I taught Literature to rising ninth graders. And it pretty much changed my life.
1. Kids are fucking hysterical. Especially middle schoolers. They are smart as hell and movtivated when they want to be and they are always, always funny. They surprise you with their answers - sometimes they're funny because they're just so wrong and sometimes they're funny because they stun you with how insightful they are. Often times they're funny because they're freaking ridiculous and silly and you can't tell when you want to strangle them or hug them.
2. Middle school is fucking hard. I don't just mean material wise, which it is, because your kids (edit: and by your, I mean mine, my kids, my students) are getting eleven different answers from eleven different teachers. They're learning how to do a thesis sixteen different ways and each class is asking different expectations of these kids. If they can slack off, they will. They're smart, they know what they need to do to get by and they will do the least amount of work necessary. But it's hard because these kids are legitimately crazy and emotionally ridiculous and they constantly feel cornered and scared and terrified someone's going to embarrass them or that they're going to embarrass themselves. It's bloody exhausting.
3. I learned that I will never, ever, ever in my entire freaking life, EVER have the same experience with a work environment as I had there. I will never work as hard or as long, I will never have 12-14 hour days probably ever again BUT I will never be as glad to do it. Every single member of the staff was someone I adored and someone I knew I could learn from and work with and hang out with. Someone smart and cool and interesting. I want to be best friends with all of them and I'm determined to stay in touch. We grew so close and it was so amazing - the entire atmosphere was just one of constant investment and compliments and reassurance and support. If you did a good job, everyone let you know, and because they did you WANTED to do a good job. Everyone went above and beyond constantly and of course we bitched about it, but we were all so important to each other... god, I don't ever want to work somewhere that doesn't feel like BTC.
4. I want to be a teacher.
5. God there's so much to put into this last one. I learned how to run a school newspaper, how to design a summer yearbook, how to be a mentor, how to teach a thesis statement, how to talk about symbolism with kids who've never read Lord of the Flies, how to coax kids into reading and what it feels like when they succeed, how it feels like to punish your kids for not doing their homework, how it feels when a kid says they hate you, how it feels when they change their mind three days later and they love you again, how it feels to watch them figure it out, how it feels to see them get so angry and so frustrated and have no idea how to tell you because their vocabularies simply can't encompass the confusion they're feeling. I learned how to attitude check and that BTC is WHAT - DYNAMITE! and the moose juice song and how to give a spirit stick and how to hump dee dumpty dump and how to sing the good morning song and shout good bye for hours, how to chase a bus and act like a dinosaur. I learned how to co-teach and how it can be the most rewarding thing you've ever done, how to make posters and command a classroom, how to get attention and keep it, how to fail miserably at keeping your kids quiet. I learned a lot about how to teach. And that I have so much more to learn.
I am so, so glad these kids are from Cambridge. I get to keep hanging out with them and seeing them and for as long as they'll let me, I'll get to keep being apart of their lives. It's an amazing thing. I had a brilliant summer.
School starts soon. Time to get back into it, I guess. Christ, I'm a junior. What the hell.