A wise man (and his three wise friends) once sang, "All You Need Is Love." [I'm sure "and chocolate" was implied.] This week at school our gospel value is Love, so I've been talking to my seventh graders about how we let our friends and family know that we love them. I asked my students, "When was the last time you told your parents 'I love you'?" About 90% of my class of 36 had said those words that very morning. As it turns out, they say those three little words on a daily basis to their parents.
I find that quite remarkable.
Well, since this initial conversation, they seem to be making a point of telling each other "I love you!" loudly enough so that I can hear it. Or they just come up to ME and say, "I love you." And then they wait.
Now, to be honest, I've never been all that comfortable with that phrase. And I'm not sure if hearing it so much this week has made me more comfortable, or if I've heard it so often in the space of a few days that it has become commonplace. But if I step back for a moment and take a look (and a listen) from a detached observer's point of view, I think it's pretty cool. My students are so comfortable expressing their feelings (unlike their teacher) that it gives me hope for their future. I hope they carry this open-heartedness with them throughout their lives.
Even though I don't say it very often, my students do know I love them. They tell me that all the time, "You know you love us, Miss McMillan!"
No, I don't.
"Yes, you do!"
Don't argue with me! I'm the teacher!
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh, Miss McMillan, you're so funny!"
This afternoon a few of the girls decided to leave me a little message on my whiteboards. Normally I frown on the kids writing on my boards. I have thirty-six students; if one writes on the board, they all have to write on the board. I don't have that much board space! But I have to admit that this was pretty gosh darn cool! Although the coolest part of my day was yet to come.
One of my seventh grade girls has a younger sister in second grade, Becca. Now, apparently my loud and obnoxious self can be just a wee bit intimidating to the younger kids. I say hello to Becca whenever I see her, and she responds with eyes filled with terror. I may be projecting just a bit. After school today, Becca was in my classroom with her sister Emma and friends. The girls were being their regular goofy selves and talking eighty million miles per minute at me. I looked down at Becca and she rolled her eyes. We were united on this one: seventh grade girls are weird.
I finally managed to convince the girls that it was time for them to leave, and they started throwing the l-word at me again. "We love you McTeach!"
Yeah, ok...get out of my room!!!
"Ha! Ha! Ha! You know you love us!"
I know no such thing! Get out!!
"Oh, Miss McMillan! You're so funny!!"
[Stick with me, here. The best part is about to be revealed!]
As they were walking across the blacktop, Becca turned around and yelled back at me, "I love you, McTeach!!" I was so shocked! It took me a moment, but then I just started howling with laughter! I mean, doubled over, tears streaming down my face, side-splitting laughter! Just to be clear, it wasn't what she said...it was how she said it. She said it exactly like the goofy seventh grade girls I see every day.
This is how they become so goofy, you see. Their training begins early!