You’ve Been Promoted!

When I’m not being obscured with expectations, I find that statement funny. People think that just because I’m teaching a higher grade that qualifies as a promotion. I have more work because I’m learning/testing the depth of the curriculum I teach, figuring out how to best teach writing for a water downed test, and learning to deal with a whole new animal then it is a promotion. But then when you look at my pay stub, it’s actually still the same. I’m getting less respect in the classroom than before and some of the people that I work with now haven’t even really acknowledged that I’m on their team. In fact, some of them still give me the very strained good morning that I got before.

Mix Ups

I’ll tell ya though, it’s been quite interesting with people getting me all mixed up about whether I’m still teaching sixth grade or now in seventh. Today, a new kid came into my class. So of course, I gave him a seat and gave him his homeroom assignment. Then, I asked him to see his schedule so that I could ask a kid to help him get to his next class and tell him where he sits for lunch. However, when I looked at his schedule, it looked strange because he had PE 3rd period and 7th graders have PE 4th. So I looked at it again, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then, it finally clicked.

“Are you a sixth grader?”

“Yes,” he said meekly.

I’m sure this kind of stuff will continue for the rest of the semester if not year.

Why I Will Continue to Teach Seventh Grade

The sixth graders that I had this year were really a great bunch. They were like no other group of students I’ve had.

So many people complained and complain about them, but the students that I had, man, they were awesome. On reading days, there were but a few who I had to get onto once in a while. For the most part, the others were very interested in reading. Their reading interests were so varied. They knew what they liked to read and made it a point to bring it to class.

Teaching them as like wearing your favorite jeans. They knew where I would give a little; I knew where they would give a little. Things went smoothly in class because I had laid out procedures that worked for both them and me.

Before I broke them the news, the thought of how they would take the news invaded my mind like Bush and Iraq. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t shake off the guilty feeling.

So many of them sent me feathers for the annual NJHS Turkey Feather Sale, and it’s a constant stream of hugs and hellos every time I set foot outside my classroom. At least one of them will visit me daily just to say hello, catch up on what they’re doing, or to tell me that they miss me.

I know that once my inherited students and I get into the swing of things, I might build the relationships (I already have with some), have smooth-running procedures, and they will learn to meet my expectations, but I still feel like my sixth graders and I were robbed. Today, when one of those sixth graders, who I really just clicked with, stopped by to say hello and chat, I knew that there is no way I can leave seventh grade the upcoming year. I’m going to have to stick to it one more year. Then after that, I can move back down, especially if I’m still convinced that I was born to teach 6th grade.

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