“Yo, Miz Land, you got a Boo thang?”
“Yea, Miz Land, I be digging that Maze Runner.”
“Miss Land, I love my some Blue Oyster Cult, you think you got some of that?”
“Miz Land, you mixed wid anything, cuz you got the hoodrat hair.”
Welcome to 8th grade. Welcome to 8th grade Intensive Reading. Welcome to Hell. That accurately describes my life the past three weeks. It has been a roller coaster of excitement, nervousness, and an insanely amount of grace. Each one of those quotes are actual phrases I have gotten from some pretty amazing kids (I said some). It has been tough, I am not going to lie. There have been so many days that I have drove home crying with Publix cookies in the passenger seat and an ungodly amount of journals to grade for the next day. Let’s be honest- Freedom Writers, Dead Poet’s Society, Mona Lisa Smile prepared me for hardworking students, undying faithfulness, and the hope to change the world. What I have so far- students with an addiction to my reward method (starburst wrappers), barely written journals, and kids who have given up.
See, I have the kids who didn’t meet standards with their reading in the past. Some of them are borderline reading level, but most aren’t close. This isn’t their first rodeo and many of them have been in multiple reading classes where they have learned the same stuff over and over and over again. So- they are a little deflated giving up their elective classes to sit in a class where they get preached at to READ READ READ. Hence where I come in.
Let’s be real, I took this job because I had 57 dollars in my bank account and nothing banging on my door. To make it where the Bear and I didn’t starve or have to make a makeshift raft down the Santa Fe and go all Huck Finn, I decided to take the job I promised myself I would never think of, and teach. Now you might say “Sam! You worked at EF, you loved it there! You were an English Major at SEU, come on! These point you towards teaching!” But but you are wrong. I believed I would write the next twenty-something breakout novel, be a fun housemom who watched Vampire Diaries and Hart of Dixie with her kids, and be the cheerleader for the next kids all too like Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile (Watch the movie, you’ll get my references). Instead, here I am- teaching kids who hate to read to mildly appreciate it and as much as I can’t breathe sometimes, I’m not hating it.
I can’t tell you I am doing a good job, but I can tell you that those little pip squeaks have wormed their way into my heart already (Maybe not 6th period). Some days I feel like I am just doing crowd control and praying for that last bell to ring, and some days, I have them where I can’t believe the day is over. So yea, this job wasn’t what I was expecting but life hardly ever is, and I may only be a crowd control at this point ,but I was hired to be their cheerleader, their encourager, their hope. And Lord Willing, I am going to be that.