Every Wednesday, the middle school holds “Morning Meeting,” which is a flexible time set aside for us all to be able to come together as a whole community. Possible activities run the gamut from bonding games to announcements to game days to make-up MOCA meetings to… whatever is needed! Today, we began by going over next week’s schedule and taking questions, going over check-out procedures for spring break and taking questions, going over remaining community service for the term and taking questions, and looking at and applauding the winning t-shirt design for our 10-year anniversary celebration. And taking questions. At that point, we still had just over five minutes left, and so I asked everyone to stand up and form a circle.
[insert groans and cries of “but I’m so comfortable!” here]
When the circle was formed, I pointed out that we were almost exactly two-thirds of the way through the year and that we had just over three months left until graduation. Several of them said, “Whose graduation?” and I laughed and answered, “The Seniors. You all have a few more years to go.” I said that we had done a lot, grown a lot, and already had much to be proud of, and that the remaining three months still gave us a lot more time together. I asked them to quietly think of hopes they had for the rest of the year, either for the community or for themselves. Clara, to my right, whispered, “Can I go last?” “Sure,” I whispered back.
After a bit, I checked in to see if everyone was ready to go, and they were. Jewels, to my left, whispered, “Can we go around that way?,” pointing to Clara. “Sorry, she asked first,” I whispered back.
I started by saying, “I hope we all continue to learn how each one of us is special, and we are able to celebrate that.” Jewels’s eyes widened as we all turned to her, and she said, “Sleep. Lots of rest for all of us.” and we continued on around. As always happens on these occasions, themes began to form, weaving through and underneath different people’s thoughts. Friendship, connectedness, and permanence were among the most commonly mentioned – having fun with friends, making new friends, making sure the seventh and eighth graders had time together, getting to know other people, ensuring we all had contact information for the summer and beyond, staying in touch. Many students mentioned getting along well and growing closer. They mentioned learning, too, of course, and Andrea, one of the math/science teachers, said, “I hope you all come to see yourselves as mathematicians.” And they mentioned specific personal goals ranging from “improving my English” to “trying New England seafood.”
When the circle came around to finish up with Clara’s words, she said, “I hope that when we all see each other in 50 years, we all recognize each other.”
As the students started to break for G period, I called out, “Before you go, one question. Who makes this happen?” They yelled back, “Us! We do!”
I love these kids.