A PSA to non-teachers and advice for our younger selves
(Sixth grade (?) Gretchen)A friendly PSA to all non-teachers out there: Summer is NOT a paid vacation. For every time I wanted to scream and curse but didn’t. For every pencil, I loaned and never got back and for all those that I glued ugly, fake flowers to and found broken to smithereens on the floor beneath a desk. For every time I repeated directions and had a kid ask immediately after, “What are we doing?” For every fart and not-so-secret nose pick. For every dollar of my own money I spend on snacks and books and supplies and incentives. For every tear shed-both theirs and mine. And for every worry about what it’s like for some of my kids who leave school and go to a home where maybe no one worries for them. For those and more, I need every blessed minute. For myself and my own children, so that in August I can give all of myself to a new batch of seventh graders. All this to say that summer gives me a chance to reflect on my own seventh-grade self and the advice I wish someone had given me (or maybe they did, but I wasn’t paying attention #selectivehearing). Keep in mind that I actually skipped seventh grade. This is no boast. My high school math teachers probably wished I had stayed on my original trajectory. I tell you this because it is so ironic, and it proves to me that God has a hilarious sense of humor. In college, I was a secondary education major who had 99% of practicum experiences in high schools. Hired right out of student teaching as a seventh-grade teacher has ensured that I have been through the grade 11 times so far. So I feel more than qualified to give all the advice that I am retroactively trying to follow myself.
Don’t take life too seriously.
Don’t give up on people.
Be brave, take risks, say yes (to most things but not drugs...still say no to drugs).
Are you still with me? If so, read on for the last short and sweet tidbits of advice.
- Pay attention to and soak up time with the people in your life who are older than you. The wisdom and heritage is gold, and you will long for it when they’re gone. Trust me.
- Live with an open hand. Be generous with your time, talents, and resources. You can’t outgive God. Ever.
- Apologize sincerely when you are wrong. Full stop.
- Seek truth. Don’t just accept what you’ve been taught. Wrestle with it. Ask the hard questions. Look open-mindedly at opposing views, so you can be educated and firm in your faith.
- I know it’s in that graduation song by Vitamin C (which you probably haven’t heard of if you are in fact reading this as a current seventh grader), but wear sunscreen. Rock pasty or orange legs if you have to, so you don’t end up looking like your grandma’s faux alligator handbag. Your skin is with you until death do you part, so keep it looking baby fresh.