So it’s the first day of class this week — I am teaching ALL freshman this year in an attempt to try and get a whole host of kids off to a good high school start with the ambition that a good leap out of the gate will help carry enough positive momentum for them to really see things through and graduate. (And graduation rate is a percentage we’d really LOVE to improve ’round these parts. Seems 50/50 isn’t quite what the state is hoping for in terms of odds.)
So my little angels are sitting there in third period, about 5 seconds after the bell rings, in a combination of freshman-ic fear, hope, excitement and “HOLY HORMONES, woulddya look at how big this place is — and these other kids are” type of silence. They are waiting for me to begin and no matter how much I smile and try to be warm and welcoming, they still are some of the quietest little mice on the planet. Things are just way too new for them around a huge urban school like this and very few ninth graders come in on Day 1 carrying much of an attitude.
Oh, they’ll grow it — that’s for sure — but on the first day of school it’s pretty chill.
Anyway, two girls suddenly walk in my room and take a seat a wee bit after the bell has sounded. And one of them is pregnant. That’s right, she’s pregnant.
Now, I’ve had students get pregnant during the school year (happens all over the country) but I’ve never had a freshman walk into school the first day of class already in her 2nd or 3rd trimester.
Of course, everyone tried not to stare… but they did. So she took a seat, I smiled and said “hi” to both the girls and that was that.
Then 3 minutes later as I am butchering names while calling role (I swear the attendance sheets should be spelled phonetically) the two girls who walked in late stood up, came up to me and asked, “Is this 12th grade?”
“Uhm, lemme see you schedule,” I answered. “Nope, you’re in the wrong room.”
And they left, the pregnant teen having to cross the front of the room a second time parading her little bundle of joy twice for all to see in a space of less than 4 minutes
Talk about an icebreaker activity for the new fish in the tank. Sent a “hope that ain’t me one day” chill across the skin of every girl in the room.
Sometimes classroom lessons just appear out of thin air.