Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sixth Grade Adolescence

Today was a super funny day. In speech class, we listened to some classmates' second informative speeches. While delivering these speeches, we are supposed to take on our future profession, and our audience is supposed to take on the qualities that this future profession might face in an audience. For example, our first speaker today gave a presentation on socialized health care (which ended up being more persuasive than informative, but...), and we were members of a caucus.

My favorite speech, however, was when one of our (extremely serious) classmates announced that he was a teacher and that we were fifth and sixth grade students. Immediately, I said to our professor, "Then I guess we'll have to chew gum and twirl our hair!" He said we could do that if we wanted to, thereby signaling the beginning of the end...

I don't know whether it was the coffee I had ingested immediately prior to class, or whether the thought of not having to act grown up suddenly took effect, but boy, I took on the sixth grade persona. It all started when our fun, spunky classmate Beth leaned over and passed a note saying "Isn't that guy soooo cute?!" I began to giggle, and so did Amy next to me. Then, I noticed that Antonio was staring in our direction, and either had something in his eye that was irritating him, or he was winking. That made us all giggle harder, which made our teacher take himself even more seriously. Beth passed a note that said, "Antonio is such a flirt!" As we tried to listen to his lesson on the history of Halloween, everything began to break loose. Mikel wadded up a sheet of notepaper and threw it over at Ryan. Ryan then threw it to Sheela, and Sheela passed it to Beth. Beth threw it to me with a gesture to pass it on to Haley. Then in question and answer time, I decided to be a smart aleck. I raised my hand, and asked, "Mr. Jeff?" Everyone laughed. I continued, "Mr. Jeff, how does Reformation Day tie in with all those historical days surrounding, and contributing to the history of, Halloween?" Rick burst out with "That's a pretty smart question for a fifth grader!" And everybody laughed again. Jeff said, "Ummm, I don't know," which caused the class to laugh again. Milena raised her hand and said in a tweeny tone, "So, did you bring us any candy?" More laughter.

To say the least, we were pretty goofy. At the end of Jeff's lesson, our professor expounded upon the truth that he'd just witnessed. Sixth graders are the only ones who can prepare you for sixth graders. No teaching certificate, no amount of education can prepare you for on the job training. He noted how helpful we were to oblige this bit of experience to Jeff. My guilt and sheepish smirk flooded away. I now felt like I'd done a service. Okay, maybe not. I still felt like we'd gone overboard, and I think Jeff did too, but hopefully this will help him as he prepares for his future. I also hope we didn't kill off his dream of teaching!

As we left our class, I remarked to Amy about just how easy it is to be immature. She nodded and said, "Way too easy!" It brought me back to the fun, albeit immature, days of eighth grade. The giddy, ridiculous feeling that you could laugh forever. But it quickly faded as I considered the next thing on my schedule and walked away.

Amy was right. It is much too easy to be immature. Although we were playacting, and were supposed to be doing so, it was easy to see that the human heart leans toward the easy path. The human heart doesn't want to do the work necessary to get good grades, raise a family, serve others, or earn a paycheck. The human heart wants to play. It may be fun for a season, but play will not satisfy the longings of our hearts. The Lord knows what will satisfy. He tells us repeatedly, in His Word, that only He can satisfy. Pursuing Him, as well as pursuing diligence and wisdom, will be rewarding in the end--long after the laughter fades.


  • At 11/01/2006 2:56 PM, Blogger J.OTIS MERSTER said…

    For fun in a group of friends, like at Marcella's birthday lunch, we will all begin talking and gesturing like high schoolers. It IS TOTALLY easy-WAY easy-to slip into that mode without even thinking about it. It's weird, dude-almost otherworldly, ya' know?

  • At 11/01/2006 3:37 PM, Blogger Gods girl said…

    middle school....good times..

  • At 11/05/2006 8:45 PM, Blogger Leila said…

    Middle School not good times, but I appreciate your committment to a good learning environment, Katie :). It reminds me to be thankful that my students are actually very mature (most of the time ;) and I take it for granted.


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