Lent, Teaching

Day 23: I like my classroom writing prompt

I didn’t know what to write today—I spent the first half in the hospital waiting for my husband to get his back injections and the second half trying to herd cats. Er, I mean, keep my students occupied before spring break when most didn’t attend school. 

I looked up writing prompts, and the one for today fit perfectly: I like my classroom because… 

Because it’s mine, it was the first professional space I didn’t have to share with a coworker. In every production company or newsroom, I have worked in, I’ve had to share a desk or office space with one or more coworkers but not this time. I could decorate my room to my liking without worrying about whether the person I shared my space with would care. 

What made the shared space even more challenging was that I usually shared it with males. I tended to bring girlie things to decorate my desk with, and they would tease me. Now it was never anything malicious, ever. I’ve been lucky to work with amazing men, but hearing “Alex the piggy? Really?” Yes, really, and over time they all loved the damn piggy. 

However, with teaching, I still have to be careful about what I bring in. I have to make sure it’s not something that a student can walk off with. Unfortunately, quite a few things gifted to me by students went missing while I was on maternity leave. 

I had my tissue box cover broken. Not sure how it happened, but the screws came out of the lid. Thankfully they fell under the tissue box, and I could fix it. But I was unable to fix what was stolen. 

Away from my primary classroom and heading towards my studio is a center room where students will go to work or decompress. They think I don’t know that sometimes when they go to the U table, I know they seek an escape. I don’t let students who I don’t trust sit in there. The room has blue lights thinking across the ceiling, and most of the time, the students only have them on. They love writing in the dark, but I don’t usually let them live out their vampire fantasies. 

My studio is probably my favorite of the three classrooms. It’s where I can truly see how much my students have learned. They have to set the lights and cameras. Students also keep the room organized and clean. It’s their space as much as it is mine. I’m so proud to see them troubleshoot technical problems and work as a team, even when things may not always go smoothly. 

Soon I’ll be taking everything off the walls of my classroom. I’m going to be moving from the middle school level to the high school level. I will no longer fully control my program and will work with my former t.v production teacher and mentor. I won’t have the same space I do now; however, my new classroom will be just as special. I won’t have a planning room or a studio attached to my main room. It’ll be down the hall. I won’t be the only person teaching the TV students how to use the equipment. It’ll now be teamwork. It’ll be a new adventure, and I’m sure I’ll have a thing to be my favorite in the classroom. 

Lent, Teaching

Day 22: There’s no room for your opinion on my newscast

There is a disturbing joke that is all too real that describes the modern journalistic world: “never let the truth get in the way of a good news story.” And doing the opposite of this is something that I stress to my news students. I constantly tell them your opinion has no place in the newsroom. We are there to present facts. It doesn’t matter if the on-air talent enjoys the story or not because they are not there to sway the audience one way or another. We are conducting a newscast, not a talk show, and even though this is lost upon many professionals, as of late, I’m doing my part in instilling it into my students. 

This week all my students were put to the test. We indeed had to practice what I preach. There is a new club starting on campus, one that not everyone agrees with. Quite a few of my students were very vocal in opposition to the club, while others did support it. I made a quick announcement before all hell broke loose. 

I asked my anchors what the point of the news is? They said to present the facts. I asked them whether they liked the club, a fact or their opinion. Quickly they answered with an opinion. I said good, because your opinions have no place in my studio. I told them all opinions are kept outside my classroom walls. Just like their discussion of their latest boy/girl friend has no place in my class, neither does their attitude toward a story we’ve been asked to cover 

This is where I reminded them that we have two religious clubs on campus. I asked my students if they knew my feelings about those two clubs, and everyone in my class said no. And I said good because my opinion on those clubs or any club does not matter, nor does my opinion on this new colorful, open to all safe space club matter. Because I’m there to teach just like they are there to report on what is happening at the school. Everyone nodded in agreement. 

When my anchors read the story about the new club, you could not tell how they felt about it.  Could they have had more personality in the newscast… Sure, of course, they could have, but I just chewed out the whole class for getting an attitude with each other. I swear World War three was about to go down over a rainbow club, and I was not about to have that. 

My students know that I believe in the freedom of the press and how important it is to have journalists. But I have also taught them how to look at a new story and break down whether the reporter is presenting facts or facts with a bias. My eighth graders have gotten good at pointing out opinions in a news story and my seventh graders are getting there. If my students never progress more in their TV Production career, I hope they learn one thing: how to analyze a story, discover what the facts are, and break them away from the on-air talents’ opinions. 

Lent, Teaching

Day 17: Controlled Chaos in the control room

When I asked one of my students what I should write about today, she said, “write about us!” I told her that I had before. However, I didn’t think today would turn out to be such controlled chaos.

Today was a hot mess express. Actually, the whole week has been a shit show and a half. Students are losing their damn minds with the full moon. If you don’t think the moon controls the kids, you haven’t spent enough time around hundreds of students on campus. But today was probably the most hilarious of them all. Usually, my students run the newscast by themselves without any assistance. But since the computer that usually does graphics died, and the replacement needs to have my profile on it, they can no longer do their job adult free. Not that I don’t fully trust them not to change their grades, but I’m not giving them the opportunity. 

Today’s class that handled the newscast has nine very vocal females and one far less vocal male. We had a guest classmate come in and add some testosterone to the room. It didn’t help much. The girls are still in complete control of the chaos. We did a few run-throughs of the script before recording. This gives everyone in the control room a chance to get familiar with what graphics will be coming up, who is tossing to weather, and setting the audio levels. Well, today wasn’t our smoothest rehearsal. 

First, we had audio issues. For some reason, the student running the board thought she should start the show with the volume faders all the way up. The moment the anchors’ mics came on, it sounded like our speakers were blown. Everything was overmodulated. She started screaming, confused about why everything was so loud. I told her to look at her levels and bring them down. Instead of bringing them down, she kept yelling over the anchors. Finally, the line producer leaned over and dropped their audio to a manageable level. 

The technical director rolled on our first take with the audio crisis averted. It should have been our only take since everything was going smoothly. That was until the audio operator forgot to unmute the weather anchor. Everyone in the back started yelling at her because we were only a story and a half away from being done with the newscast. My students pride themselves on being able to record in one take. They do their best to record live to tape and try not to leave anything for me to edit. They also know that the moment they mess up something, the ball starts rolling, and so many other things start to mess up.

And that is precisely what happened. 

The anchors flubbed their lines a few times, and I threatened to fire them. They quickly switched roles, so the other was now reading the names from the basketball game. Things seemed to be going great until our audio person became distracted and forgot to mute everyone while the weather opening played. The recording started over, and anchor one sounded dead while anchor two sounded like he took speed. I told them they were both about to lose their jobs, and they promised they’d do better. 

The line producer called standby and began the countdown. Then all hell broke loose. The floor director was in her own world and forgot to count the anchors in. So we just had the boys staring at the screen while the lounge producer started shouting in the head seat. Anchor one lost his shit, and my director ran out, nearly jumping up and down. She told him, “now read the announcements with that energy,” and he did. We were almost done with a great take until my audio operator squealed so loudly and threw up her arms that my weather anchor thought she had done something wrong. Everything was lost in the moment. We tried to pick up the take from the weather opening, but it was lost. We had to start over. 

At this point, we had fifteen minutes left of our fifty-minute class. The new floor director counted in the on-air talent, and Anchor one sounded like he could pass for a zombie while anchor two, well, he could read the names, so we just had to roll with it. 

I think I was ready to give up on the day. Everyone was out of sorts and making careless mistakes. We didn’t have time to switch, and the two that usually were my go-to on-air talent decided that today they were protesting because “like we always do it.” 

We finally got a passable take. There were some graphic errors because the right arrow became stuck. That problem was the only one that could be fixed in post, so we kept it. 

I really can’t be too frustrated. The kids did great. Repeating the script, punching the show, and rolling with tech issues with a fair amount of emotional control. I worked long enough in the professional world to know that not many adults could keep their composure as my 12 & 13-year-olds did. 

Lent, Teaching

Day 16: deep dive into mythical creatures, folklore, and urban legends

The end of the third nine weeks has brought the end of getting my students back to working order. While I was away on maternity leave, things were lax, to say the least. So to get them used to working again, I let our big project stretch out longer than usual. As I talked with those who finished their project, we discussed the topic for the next news package. I really wanted to have them create a news package on their favorite book or comic, but the students didn’t seem as interested in the idea as I was. 

As two students were talking, I overheard them discussing Bloody Mary. Student A explained to Student B the urban legend, and most of it sounded like the legend I heard of when I was their age. However, what I didn’t hear was the origin story, and when I asked them if they knew who Bloody Mary was based on, they said no. That slightly aggravated me. I was and still am an inquisitive person. If I hear about an urban legend, myth, or magical thing, I look it up. Sadly my access to information was far more limited than theirs. So while I rattled off her back story, I made my decision. My students would do a deep dive into the backstory of their favorite mythical creatures, folklore, or urban legends. 

The next day, as my students edited, I had them stop so they could begin thinking about their next project. I decided to tease them with the idea of using their favorite book for their news package. The number of groans I received was hilarious. Even my students who loved reading complained this wasn’t their Ela class. So I gave them all a minute to calm down and asked them how they would feel about doing a project on their favorite mythical creature. This time the sound that erupted from my students was excitement and shouting over who would do what. But after three years of working with me, my eighth graders knew it would be a little more than that. I told them to avoid having ten projects on unicorns. They would have to select five different options and a summary of their topic. 

Everyone stopped editing and started googling what they were going to pick. I regretted telling them so early, but when they get excited about a project, they wrap up the old one fast. My students know that I’m not too fond of bare-bones information. Even if they were creating a one to two-minute news package, they needed enough research to answer any follow-up questions I might have. 

The point of the extra information is not just for my benefit. It’s also to help my students learn how to research, find multiple sources, and summarize their knowledge in an informative and exciting manner. This skill isn’t something they would only use in my class but throughout the rest of their academic and possibly personal life as well. My goal with my class has always been to encourage my students to be curious. If they hear about something interesting, my biggest hope is they want to learn more and, because of my class, will know how to find it and compare all sides. 

Student C, knowing I hate clowns, asked if she could research Pennywise. I asked her if she meant the character from IT. And she nodded with a ridiculous smile. I told her the only way she could prove the character was based on something that came before the novel. Of course, I already knew that it was based on John Wayne Gacy, but I wanted to see what she would come up with. The next morning she came running into my class telling me a giant laundry list of what she learned and all the rabbit holes it sent her on. She hadn’t even started the project and had already learned more about her favorite character than she had known for the last two years. 

I really do regret agreeing to let her choose pennywise however her seeking out the information was precisely the point of this exercise. I guess I’ll have to watch her project from behind my hands when it comes time to grade it. 

Lent, Teaching

Day 15: Fire (not a drill)

In the last ten to fifteen minutes of school today, my building had to evacuate. When the fire alarm went off, all the students froze and looked at me. We weren’t sure if it was a drill, especially with how close it was to dismissal.

My class is usually organized chaos. My TV production students tend to be all over campus recording projects and being a little boisterous because they’re acting in their films. So for them to automatically stop what they were doing and look at me for guidance made me proud. As the alarm drilled over our heads, I picked up my walkie and listened. This was clearly not a drill.

At our last staff meeting, they made it very clear that if we were ever to evacuate our building or had to leave campus Because of an event, all students in staff members should have their cell phones. They even told women to grab our purses just in case we wouldn’t be allowed back on campus or into the building to get our keys. So I told all my students to grab their phones and throw them into their back pockets, and we waited for the announcement to dismiss us. South Florida schools no longer automatically run out of their classrooms when the fire alarm is pulled. We remain until our building is dismissed because we want to be sure it is a real fire or a drill, not someone who has decided to play a prank and pull the alarm or something more horrendous.

While we waited, there was a knock on my door. I looked through the gap, and it was two of my three students who were out filming. I asked where student C was, and they said he went to the building two office. Usually, that is not a wrong decision on his part, but today that was the wrong choice. That office, which is over the classrooms next time mine, is where they suspected the mechanical fire was coming from.

When they dismissed us to our location, there were only three classrooms who are dismissed. I watch students who usually constantly misbehave and act out, walking single-file lines and listening to their teacher without having to be told multiple times to behave. I cannot say how proud I am of each and every student that was at my school that took the situation seriously.

Students usually complain about the fire drills and ask why we do them. But today shows why they were important. Every student knew precisely where they needed to go. Every student knew how to handle themselves appropriately and listened when the teachers called roll to ensure we were all accounted for and present.

As we waited, my students asked if this was why I always asked them to create a schedule breakdown with their locations. I said besides that, it was an industry standard, but it also helped me locate them in case of an emergency like today.


Day 14: School Guidance Counselors

I think guidance counselors are one of the most underused tools at school. Wait, let me rephrase that I think guidance counselors are one of the tools incorrectly overused.  

When I look back at my school career, I can say I remember my elementary guidance counselor. She was tall with brown hair and a kind voice. No clue who the guidance counselors were at middle school. I’m almost sure that I didn’t know they even existed. And for high school, I would invade my guidance counselor’s office for nearly four years, asking her to help me find a college that had a degree in oceanography or something close to it. But not once do I remember my guidance counselors being as present as the fantastic staff at my school. 

If parents were to walk the campus of the middle school I work at, I promise you over half of them would be astonished by how present our guidance counselors and behavioral health specialists are. Students of all grade levels know their names, most of whom know where their offices are. The repore the students have with these professionals is impressive. For the most part, they feel comfortable talking about their issues with the staff and even will seek out help. And those students who kept their problems closer to the vest don’t usually fight the extra push in the right direction. I’ve heard from many of my students that after speaking with a guidance counselor, they don’t feel judged but actually heard for the first time. And I agree entirely with them. 

I don’t know how often I have found myself in one of the guidance counselors’ offices asking for advice. Sometimes it’s for assistance handling a student with a 504 or IEP. However, I’ve found myself in their offices more often than not with personal questions, sometimes self-care because my students have stressed me the fuck out, sometimes about my kids, and a few times about my postpartum mindset. I’m unsure if this is like that at all schools or if we are just blessed with an and staff. 

I think all companies should have guidance counselors. Not HR people because you can’t talk to the person in control of hiring and firing freely. No, a guidance counselor, psychologist, whatever you want to call the person, someone impartial to your career should be available to talk to. I think that could help avoid workplace burnout. 

As much as I sing the praises of our counselors, there is something that I disagree with that is done across the county when it comes to them. Guidance counselors are used in so many other areas that are well outside the realm of counselors that I wonder how they can do their actual job. 

The district requires them to present Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons to each grade level several times throughout the year. They also have to present to each grade level these mental health suite 360 lessons as well. The one coming up is about the Prevention of Suicide. And while yes, the topic is tough to present, they don’t have control over how to discuss the issue. 

I don’t think it’s fair that schools are given those extremely difficult and triggering topics, and all schools are expected to teach them the same way. I believe each school should be able to take the issue and tailor it to the school’s location. Because I seriously doubt that the discussions going on at the middle schools in Boca Raton are the same as Belle Glade and Pahokee. Also, our guidance counselors may know what emotional level to present these topics with better than one size fits all. If the guidance counselors weren’t busy being testing monitors or filling in for teacher duties, they could target groups of kids and have a more personal discussion with them. 

I know many of these duties that guidance counselors go through now are because of what happened in Parkland. We don’t want another student to slip through the cracks, but I’m not sure if we keep adding more tasks to their plates, they will be able to see the students. We will have all these fantastic PowerPoint and well-thought-out plans but no students left to save because those who are meant to help are bogged down with the extra work of the School Board bureaucracy. 


Day 13: Classroom Assault

I was working on blog post 11 and 12 but stopped.

I hear endlessly that people don’t understand why there’s a teacher shortage, but the answer is simple. We don’t get paid enough. I’m not talking about being paid enough to cover supplies and random things we’d like to decorate our classrooms with. No, we do not get paid enough to put up with mental abuse from students, which some teachers deal with daily; more disturbing is the fear of being physically assaulted by a student.

In the last few months, the national news has been paying attention to two different attacks that happened to teachers. One was a six-year-old who shot his teacher, and the other was a fairly large ESE student who beat the living shit out of his para. If you have seen the attack video, you know there is no other way to describe what happened. While both incidents are horrible in their own right, they are not that unique. 

I have no answer, but reading over and over again that the schools failed is taking the easy way out. As a teacher who sees students of all learning abilities and ages, there is not one answer for why students in the public school system have become so toxic. Just as the mainstream media likes to blame the schools, I could easily blame the parents of these students. However, that’s unfair. I have been a part of parent-teacher conferences where parents do not understand why their children are cussing out the teachers or threatening them. At the same time, I’ve been a part of conferences where the parents are hostile and blame the teachers for their children’s behavior. 

An assault happened to one of my co-workers today, and while I can not openly discuss what happened with the teacher, if there had been a video, I’m sure it would have made the news. I don’t know how to handle discussing assaults on teachers. Yes, the public needs to be aware of the fucked up situations. However, I’m nervous that airing these incidents will cause copycats. 

Even if we never show or name another student in an assault case, students will still act out, and there need to be more severe consequences. I don’t know what other consequences are required, but suspensions aren’t enough. There are students who have told me they would rather get a two-day out-of-school suspension because they will watch Netflix the moment their parents leave. How is that a punishment for verbally assaulting an adult? How is that punishment for assaulting another student? How is out of out-of-school or in-school suspension a punishment for being late to class repeatedly? It isn’t. The students actively seek these out. I have a student that, the moment her boyfriend gets I.S.S or O.S.S. she tries to get whatever suspension he has so they can spend time with each other. 

While venting my frustrations, I suggested we should hold the parents more accountable. Maybe that might make those parents who ignore their children’s toxic behavior to become more aware. Maybe instead of I.S.S or O.S.S, the parents have to pay a fee after a student has received a certain amount of disciplinary referrals. It might make people more aware of the situation.

A lot of these assaults are perpetrated by students who can be classified as EBD. The mainstream media tend not to talk about students with disabilities. This is where a big Catch-22 comes in because we are now discussing disabilities.

A student with an emotional/behavioral disability has persistent (is not sufficiently responsive to implemented evidence-based interventions) and consistent emotional or behavioral responses that adversely affect performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, or ethnicity.  

Basically, once these students get the EBD label, they act as if they are invincible. Yes,some of these students actually have a disability where they cannot control their temper and outburst, and other things along those lines may happen. However, some students will cause harm and say, oh, I can’t help it because of whatever label they’ve been given.

I believe every child should receive an education and their best education.However, there has to be a line. I don’t think that students should return if they have already been to juvie for assaulting a police officer at the school. We need to establish a clear boundary. When do we put other students at risk because we want to ensure that everything is inclusive?

Not all behavior issues are attributed to disabilities. Some students are outright a*holes. It doesn’t matter their socioeconomic background or how good or bad their parents are. They’re just not good people. And it’s extremely unfortunate because no matter how hard their parents try, the students do not care.

So I am at a loss for what to do. Teachers shouldn’t have to worry about being verbally or physically assaulted by their students. Everybody deserves an education. But how many chances do students deserve before they are hindering everyone’s ability classroom? How many chances before the student causes disturbances that disrupt an entire school? What is the answer? I don’t know, maybe you do.

Lent, Mommy Blogs

Day 8: Fighting Imposter Syndrome

I’ve been fighting the feeling of impostor syndrome for a while now. Where I used to think it only affected my creative and professional life, I discovered I was wrong. Lately, I’ve felt like an imposter mother to my youngest child—the child I so desperately wanted and had a mental breakdown and nearly divorced my husband over. 

I look back at when Adelyn, my daughter, was an infant and wondered how I had so much time with her. Then I remembered I worked in the news, and my shift was from 3 to 11 pm. I spent the day with her before I went to work. Also, my husband and I were living at my mom’s while we tried to find a home. That meant I could focus all my time on my new baby. Eventually, I switched from 3 to 11 pm to 3-11 am. I could pick up Adelyn from daycare at noon, nap while she napped, and spend the rest of the day with her before bedtime. 

Now everything is so different. 

I, thankfully, no longer live with my parents. We were able to find a home before our area became entirely unaffordable for those who grew up here and weren’t millionaires. I also changed jobs. I switched from working in television to teaching how to work in broadcast television. This meant working more regular hours. Yes, I get a million days off that I would never have earned while working in the news, but now my time is stretched so differently. 

Bennett, my youngest, spends nearly his entire waking hours with my mom and dad or my husband’s mom when she’s off work. 

I pick up Bennett at five and rush to whatever ballpark the oldest are playing at—the moment he hits the car, his out. My youngest doesn’t nap during the day. He loves to be awake and alert, looking around and observing his surroundings. This is probably why this makes working regular hours so hard. Bennett is not a night owl like Adelyn is. He’s the most fantastic sleeper. If he goes to bed at 8:30 – 9, he’ll be asleep until 7 am. I know nearly no one would complain about a baby sleeping; however, with Bennett being a fantastic sleeper, I hardly get a few hours with him during the week. It makes me feel like I’m not raising my child, but my parents are. 

I’m genuinely blessed knowing Bennett is at my parents’ house instead of being at daycare. But that doesn’t help matters much because come August; I believe my little one will go to daycare unless my dad misses having him over the summer. 

Adelyn and Mark both went to daycare, but they were older. Mark didn’t go until vpk, and we had the most amazing nanny for Adelyn until she was 13 months or so. The idea of Bennett, not even four months old, having to go into daycare breaks my heart. He’s a cuddle bug. He loves to be held. And even though the daycare he would have gone to is impressive, they couldn’t spend ten-ish hours holding him. 

Writing ten hours out just made me nauseous. My child is spending ten hours with other people. The child I so desperately wanted, yet unfortunately, because bills need to be paid, we need a roof over our heads, and food on the table. I don’t get to spend all the time in the world with him. 

Times like these are when I envy stay-at-home moms. I know it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for them, and it wouldn’t be for me. Without a task at hand, I get restless. I get cabin fever quickly, and my child loves to pee, poop, and throw up on me. 

Even knowing that I truly wish there were more hours in the day to do everything I want to do. 


Day 7: Finding time

It’s hard to find time to write. Between being a mom of three that lives at the baseball and softball fields and a full-time teacher finding time to do something that I’m passionate about nearly seems to be impossible. If I want to write, I must decide what doesn’t get my time and attention. And my children and my career are not an option when it comes to neglect. That means that my husband and I have to divide our time between doing something together or me taking some time for myself and sitting down at a computer to write. In the past six days, while we were watching TV, I picked up my cell phone, and instead of opening social media, I completed the different blog posts. But I don’t like taking away our quality time. Part of me misses the freedom I had before children, but there’s no reason to linger in the past because the kids aren’t going anywhere for the next 18 years.

I’ve gone to bed late, and the glow of the cell phone stares me in the face as I try to review what I have written throughout the day. Sometimes sleep has to be sacrificed for me to do what I love. I feel like this is a pattern that has followed me throughout my life. Adding too much shit to my plate and trying to make sure that I can do everything that I want in the very limited hours of the day. Sometimes I’ll write five pages and delete it all because I am unhappy with what I wrote. 

Today is one of those days. I’ve tried writing four different posts, and they all seem forced. It’s like my creativity has been drained from me. In all honesty, that’s how I’ve felt since I gave birth. It took me years after having my daughter to find time to be myself again, and I don’t want to spend another three to four years figuring out how to keep myself as happy as I make sure the children are. But sometimes, that doesn’t always work the way you want it to, especially when you’re battling postpartum depression.

I thought I would spend my maternity leave snuggling my brand-new baby and writing my second book. I did not expect myself to want to become one with my couch.


Day 6: Witchcraft

Today my students made me laugh. 

Student A came up to me extremely concerned. She asked if manifesting something into existence was witchcraft. I explained to her, no; it was not witchcraft. I did my best to tell her that manifesting something into existence was the same as putting out positive energy and hoping to get positive energy and return. It also helps people keep a positive mindset while working towards a particular goal.

 Student A fidgeted slightly before looking back at Student B.  “Well, Student B is doing witchcraft. She wrote the boy’s name on a piece of paper and stuck it in her shoe.”

Student B quickly took offense, not for being accused of witchcraft but because it wouldn’t work. “It’s not going to work,” age pouted. “I forgot to burn the paper, and it won’t work if I don’t burn it. I just wasted my time.” 

“See, I told you!” Student A said, throwing her arms dramatically in the air. “Mrs. Jenkins tell her she shouldn’t do witchcraft.” 

I looked over at Student B. She had her arms folded over her chest and rolled her eyes as I told her, “you Shouldn’t do witchcraft.” 

“and why not?” she demanded. 

And I signed at both girls. “Aside from my number one rule, don’t discuss boys in my class. Why would you want to date a boy who doesn’t even know you’re alive? Don’t waste your time on boys who don’t know you exist. You’re too awesome for that.” 

Now student B is fidgeting in her seat, “whatever, it’s not going to work anyways. I did it wrong.” 

All of this made me laugh. Twenty-plus years later and middle school girls are still doing the same ridiculous things that they probably have been doing for generations. I remember lighting candles and doing silly rituals, hoping some boy would know I was alive. And let me tell you how glad none of that magic actually works. 

God lord, middle school girls have awful taste. I could count on one hand with half my fingers missing how happy I would have been ending up with my middle school crush.  I’ve seen what some of my crushes have grown up to look like, and they are far from what my adult self finds attractive. 

I try to explain to the girls and boys, when they listen, that it’s okay to have relationships, but don’t act like your life is ending because you broke up with the guy you’ve been “dating” for two weeks. I remind them they have plenty of years left ahead of them to torture their love interests. 

When Student B brought up magic again, I explained to her I know of one couple that has been together since middle school, and it wasn’t magic that kept them together. It was hard work, communication, and a strong foundation. Something that wouldn’t come from sticking a piece of paper in the bottom of your shoe and lighting it on fire.