Actual transcript of a conversation that perfectly illustrates everything wonderful and frustrating about working with 6th graders:
Scene: Me, with muffin in hand, walking over to check on a student’s homework.
Student: Is that a muffin? I thought you were trying to eat less sugar.
Me: I am, but it’s just a muffin.
Student: I bet it has a LOT of sugar.
Me: I’m not going to worry too much.
Student: You should worry. Sugar is not good for you, I know because YOU told us.*
(*In a lesson on nutrition that we’re required to teach as part of a wellness program)
Me: How about I don’t tell you how to live your life, and you don’t tell me how to live mine.
Student, increasingly shrill and outraged: You tell me how to live my life ALL THE TIME! Every day. It’s LITERALLY your job to tell me how to live my life. You get paid to do it!
Me, increasingly defeated: Well you’re not being paid to tell me how to live my life.
Student, even shriller and more outraged: Well, I’m doing it pro bono, which is a word I know because YOU told me it. I’m doing it out of love, did you ever think about that? Because I CARE about you.
Me: That’s… actually really nice. I promise I’m eating mostly healthy, I appreciate you worrying about me. Now, do you have your homework.
Student: What homework? You NEVER told me we had homework.