First of all, let me begin by saying I have a middle school niece and nephew that I love dearly. They are so remarkable, it wrenches my heart. Ordinary, they are not.
They go to our neighborhood school which is private and Catholic. This school is also remarkable. There are eleven classes ranging from 3 year-olds up to eighth grade. The school has incredibly caring and hard-working teachers and administrators, an award-winning curriculum, and an immaculately well-kept facility. The parents are warm, friendly, and supportive. Each day begins and ends with prayer.
Having the teachers gather to pray every morning before school is a brilliant stroke of genius, in my opinion. As a thirty-eight year veteran of teaching in the public school system, I know how much prayer can do to get you through the day! I taught all grades one through eight in my career. I prayed independently and silently every day. I know for a fact, I would never have survived without prayer.
Fast forward to this past week, when I substituted for the English and Religion teacher of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at St. Leo’s. Let me tell you, it was not sparkles and rainbows.
These are good kids, but they are not ordinary. These people eat well. Most of the boys are significantly taller than I am. Their feet are long, not unlike water skis. The girls are tall, too, and have an endless number of things to talk about. (I can relate.) The boys have booming, breaking voices. The things they think are funny are puzzling to me, while they find them hysterical. They must all breakfast on coffee and chocolate and Fruit Loops. Their energy levels are off the charts!
Oh, my. I did survive. After some recovery time, I may have flourished. That remains to be seen, but right now, I am just worn out. I’ll be going back next week, and thank God I have a weekend to recoup and regroup. Yes, middle schoolers are a species unto their own, and I do have prayer. Alleluia and Amen.