On the way to my classroom yesterday, my eager, energetic, and curious 7th grade student came rushing up to me, exclaiming, “Ms. D, I need to borrow a book from your class! I was annotating my book so hard (her hands are doing the annotating, and her arms marking as she speaks) that I was sweating! Really, I was sweating — I was so into marking; it was so amazing. But now I lost my book.”
LL subsequently found her book, and predictably, was equally excited to reclaim her lost treasure. LL reads with great pleasure, but also with questions, with engagement, and with an amazing ability to delve below the surface to excavate metaphor.
LL is an avid writer and reader of blogs — and though I have not shared with her my own blogging tendencies, we have had several animated discussions about how much she has learned from other writers because of blogging. In particular, she is a huge fan of Tavi Gevinson. We have a new 7th grade project that involved interviewing someone and writing about the experience, and LL is all about interviewing Tavi.
Later today, LL enthusiastically engaged Gorilla Girl in a discussion of Tinker Bell and her various heroic and “cool” qualities (flying being high on the list), LL embracing her little girl self in this moment.
Seventh graders have an amazing ability to exhibit the most adult qualities while simultaneously embracing what is wonderful and palpable about childhood — its exuberance and joy.
For everyone who drops a jaw, shakes a head, or stares in wonder when I say that I have been teaching 7th grade for 20 years, here is my answer.