Why I love teaching at a junior high

I love the reactions I get when I tell people I'm the librarian at a junior high school. I don't know if the accompanying look of horror is inspired by the person's flashback of their own painful early teen transition time, or if it's their media-slanted perception of what teens are like today.

I absolutely love working with kids this age and here are three reasons why, based on today's adventures:
  1. Brutal honesty without meanness. Change your hairstyle, and adults feel obligated to compliment you ("Oh, your hair is different--it's cute!"). Kids, on the other hand, tell it like it is ("Miss Price, are you having a bad hair day?"). The seventh grader who asked me that at lunch had such a look of complete sincerity on his face, I had to answer, "You know Mitchell, I didn't think I was, but maybe I am!" I've been giggling ever since, and am rethinking my new 'do.
  2. Sincere appreciation. Two kids who aren't my normal audience (i.e. never set foot in the library unless assigned to do so) both thanked me profusely for helping them with their projects today. It makes me wonder, if they're so shocked to find an adult willing to help them, how badly are we failing them?
  3. Spontaneous amusement. What room of adults would laugh out loud when someone does an impersonation of the great and powerful Oz to try out her new classroom amplification system? I love using that microphone almost as much as I like using Lanschool to send messages to their computer screens ("I don't think the Laker Girls are part of your research project, so please close that window and start researching Utah geography.").
Writing: still working on a daily goal that will get me to my goal. Is it pages? Time limits? I'm still deciding.
Reading: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Truly inspiring stuff for those of us who look cynically at books of inspring stuff. I need to re-read this book every year.

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