Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 13 2013

Lipstick and smiles

Ya’ll, teaching at a middle school is weird. I constantly think about how all of my friends chilling in Corporate America could never relate to what goes on here at RMS.

Today, I was at scanning duty (which is a unique enough experience already) when I saw a girl coming up through the line. Even though I do not and never have had this girl in my class, I recognize her, just like I have come to recognize just about every student over the course of my two years here.

This girl has never worn any kind of makeup before but today she showed up with a bright red shade of lipstick smeared across her face. And to be honest, she looked terrified.

Typical middle school stuff- she wants to be cool and knows that the cool girls wear lipstick, but she doesn’t know if she can pull it off. There have been thousands of movies made about these girls. Our library is full of books that feature these girls as their protagonists.

So anyways, she’s walking through the line with her eyes averted, head down, shuffling along until she gets to me. As she hands me her backpack for me to check it, ours gazes locked for just a second.

I gave her my biggest smile, wished her a good morning, and let her know that I was extremely glad to see her at school.

And boom, just like that, her demeanor changed. She looked validated. She regained a sense of confidence and composure. I’d like to think that her entire outlook on the day changed.

How many jobs does are there where you get to do that?

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    Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

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