Just in case you didn't know, 6th graders are kids.
And when I say kids, I mean kids. Since the 6th graders are the "big kids" of my school, besides the 7th and 8th graders, it is easy to forget how young they are and how they are simply just trying to figure out who they are. And in the process of figuring out who they are, they are constantly testing authority (aka me, A lot) and acting quite immature. (I had a student turn her mouthpiece around backwards on her clarinet and then proceed to blow it to produce a lovely "SQUEEK", as I was attempting to talk to the band about a particular measure.... oh 6th graders... :) I gotta say tho, I am really starting to like these kids, even tho they can drive me bonkers, they are really sweet kids and quite funny!
I received my wake-up call, my "Meghan, they really are still kids, they are only 12! moment" when I had a student cry in front of me. He had given me attitude the entire class because I asked them to (shock!) stand during class because we were practicing for singing at Mass. He rolled his eyes at me, was bothering a girl next to him, gave me the "I really don't care" message through his body language, and basically was a clear as he could be to me without yelling out, that he did not care in the least bit that he was being rude and disrespectful. So, needlesstosay, I was expecting a kind of arrogant and denying attitude when I talked to him after class.
So, I was standing in front of him asking him why he acted the way he did, and he just hung his head and answered "I don't know...". Then he started crying. At first I didn't know what to do, but then I just reiterated to him that I don't think bad of him, I just want him to act better in class, that I care about him, but he needs to act better and more respectful next class. I am praying that this little moment will help him to realize how important it is to be respectful and try his best in every class.
I also know that this was God's way of gently pounding it into my head that they are just kids and they are learning how to behave and mistakes are a natural occurrence. It is also these experiences that remind me just how influential a teacher can be in a child's life, positive or negative.