Friday, September 10, 2010

What *I* learned in co-op today

So, I'll admit that I was a little nervous about teaching middle-schoolers.  I hadn't heard good things about middle-schoolers.  I don't really know middle-schoolers.  But I imagined it could end badly.  Youngish enough to be squirrelly, but not so young you could distract them using tricks.

I agreed to teach 2 semester-long classes for our co-op because (A) I love teaching, and (B) I love, love, love the boys' co-op and I want to see it thrive.  Participating seemed like a good way to put in a vote of confidence, since these co-ops are the most amazing schooling experience I can imagine for our family.

So I made up a lesson plan for 15 weeks of both classes.  One teaching students how to write research papers and another teaching economics ("Jr. MBA").  I printed off my cute little handouts.  Packed my bag.  And was a wee bit nervous to start today.  Asking them to care about economics seemed up there with asking them to care about gasoline shortages. 

I have no idea why I was concerned.  These kids blew me away!  They were insightful and engaged and curious and brilliant.  They took words like "scarcity" and "opportunity cost" and just ran with completely beautiful examples of how they've seen them in their own lives.  They were kind.  Interested.  Enthusiastic. 

Holy cow.  It was like the Stepford Co-op of Middle Schoolers.

What I learned today:

- I love our co-op even more, if the older kids are like this.

- It's really fun to teach gifted, well-behaved children.  Ha!  Shocking.

- I love teaching at its most fundamental, regardless of the age group.  Teaching middle schoolers gave the same adrenaline rush as my college students and adult learners.

A very good day.  A very exhausting, crazy day!  But a good day.


After co-op today, Cynthia told me she might have to separate Jack and Sophie's seats. They know each other from last year, so they were chatting a lot.

I said to Jack later: "So were you having some problems talking to your friends in school today?"

Jack, looking stunned: "What?  No!  I wasn't having any problems.  I was talking to them a lot!"