A few years ago my oldest was either given or had found several old pictures of me from middle and high school. He kept them in a box and called it the “nerd box.” He clearly gets his sense of humor from me.
A few months ago these pictures resurfaced in his room so I took them. I stuffed them in my school bag thinking they would come to good use. One of them was my 8th grade school picture, and since I am an 8th grade teacher, I put it to use as my ID photo for school. It hangs around my neck every day and has sparked some fun conversations with students. Things like, “No offense, but was it an ugly sweater contest that day?” and “Ohhh look at how smart she looks.”
Recently I taped the other two, one from my freshman year of high school and one from my sophomore year, by my desk near the pictures of my own children. These are not as often noticed by my students as my 8th grade picture, but when they are, some of the conversations remind me why I love middle schoolers so much.
Student One referring to my freshman picture: You know who you look like Mrs. Royston? Barb from Stranger Things.
Me: Oh my gosh! I totally do!
Student Two: Yeah what you’re wearing even looks like something she’d wear. Did you have a skirt on too?
All of us: Laughing
After that class, it was lunch time, Student Two came back into my room, walked right up to me, looked me right in the eyes, and said, “You are a great teacher, you know that?”
Words failed me for a second. She was so sincere and intentional with this statement, I was taken aback. Somehow I managed to squeak out a thank you.
There are more days I feel like I am failing these young minds than there are of me feeling like I am doing something right. But with this one student on this one day, I must be doing something right.