I've been stressed for weeks. The stressors have been many, but lately, I have attributed it to the upcoming AP exam. I've been preparing them for the year and reviewing for weeks. I sent out an email to the teachers explaining that if they ever wanted to "pawn off" the AP kids on me during 5th or 6th periods, I would take them. That means, I haven't had a planning period in 3 weeks because I've always been tutoring. I am lucky enough to be great friends with their Honors Language Arts teacher and I've been hijacking her class. She's been teaching how to have study groups, take notes, make flash cards, socratic circles, etc...all with my AP information. She saved me. I also coerced the Biology teacher (also, a really great friend) to show a 3 day long video about the Rwandan holocaust that I never had time to show.
So basically, for the last 3 weeks, those students and I have become very close. I have them 3rd, and they all join me during their activity period. I hijacked their 1st and 7th and they come to me 5th and 6th. Together, we had after school AP tests and FRQ (essay) reviews. We were in it together and we were in it for the long hall.
The day came. They arrived (on our late start morning) before 7:30 AM. Most of them missed their Lagoon (amusement park) field trip to take the expensive test. They trickled into my class early and sat nervously, holding about 14 sharpened, number 2 pencils, and pens with blue or black ink. At 7:30, we passed out sausage egg McMuffins, juice, and granola bars, that my principal was kind enough to buy for us. We calmly ate together and then the "festivities" began. Cynthia (the language arts teacher) promised them extra credit if they prepared a 1 minute or less motivational speech. A few kids took advantage of that opportunity. A kid stood up and played "We are the Champions" on his cell phone. I then turned out the lights for a few yoga moves (that was interesting/hilarious). Some teachers have class motto's, we have class youtube videos. I showed them. Here they are:
Jessica's Daily Affirmation and Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll. They are definitely worth watching if you haven't seen them.
Then I gave my spill. The most powerful part came at the end. The lights were still out from yoga and video clips. I wrapped up my words and told them to leave their stuff near my desk, grab their pencils, and I would walk them to the testing room. One of them chimed in, "can we pray?" Others seconded with little blurbs about why they should, "We pray before games." "We pray before plays." "Yeah! Let's!" Meanwhile, two kids who are notoriously not religious or of different faiths said, "Come on, we'll go in the corner while they pray." The kids huddled up. A tight huddle, arms over shoulders, of girls. Another of boys. I walked to the dark shadows of my corner desk. Cynthia sat near by in a chair. I turned to her and shrugged. They quickly quieted down and lowered their voices. At the male voice and echoing female voice of "Dear Heavenly Father..." coming from the two different prayer circles. I lost it. I sobbed silently in my corner, as did Cynthia in her chair. At the "amen," we quickly brushed off our tears and I briskly walked to turn on the lights. Then, we were spotted. "MISS ANDERSON'S BEEN CRYING!!!" "SO HAS VANDERMIEDEN!"
We were caught. Who cares? I love those kids. They are strong. They are intelligent. And, they are powerful. I will cherish those brief moments forever.
7 hours ago