Some random bits to remember later on about this first week of the new school year. The big one is a junior and the little is a sixth grader. I am in middle school for the first time.
Kid #1 who spent the last three months of sophomore year in PJ pants – AT SCHOOL – has decided this year he should get dressed. “It makes me feel more confident, Mom. Also, if I dress better than the teachers, I will feel smarter than them.” …. okaaaaaay..??
Kid #2 has decided to go for an emo/animae look. Bucket hats, spiked bracelets, knee highs and combat boots. It’s hilarious because on the inside, this kid is all rainbows and fluffy clouds with a little bit of thunder storm for small tidbits of the day…. every day.
Myself, I am thoroughly enjoying middle school life. As an interpreter, it is ALWAYS intimidating to stand in front of a room full of judgmental, hormonal, adolescent strangers and make funny faces and wave my hands around. I try to focus rrrrreally hard on keeping eye contact with my student so I don’t have to see all the eyes that are on me. In the beginning, as the kids are getting used to seeing an interpreter in their class/assembly, it’s fascinating. I don’t blame them. I’m pretty entertaining to watch. But after a while the interpreter fades into the background and you only remember them two seconds after someone says a really juicy word and you remember to look and see if you can catch the sign to show your friends later. (We know you do it)
But today was the worst situation, personally. I hate attention on me. Wrong profession, I know, but stay with me on this one. So the entire 7th grade is on the bleachers. The principals & co. are speaking to the fresh meat and explaining some school value stuff. They emphasize three core ideas: Safety, Responsibility, and Respect.
I’m doing my thing, interpreting away, it’s going well until …. the third speaker REALLY wants to make a show of it, so she instructs all the kids to watch “Ms. (insert wrong name) The Interpreter” and learn and sign the appropriate signs for each word.
And in my mortified and embarrassed brain, I just sign bigger and more goofy. The more ridiculous I look, the less self-conscious they will feel.
We are talking two-handed signs and mirroring it. I’m a lefty, which makes it that much more awkward for them … it was uncomfortable to say the least, but we pushed on. My student thought it was pretty funny.
The other entertainment for the day was watching a locker room full of 13 year olds try and figure out how to work a combination lock with no instructions. The panic and anxiety over this lock was hilarious. I found out how many kids make it to middle school not knowing their right from their left.
It’s astonishing. I even pointed the right direction.
I remember the frustration myself, so I tried to help as many as I could while not thinking of how many germs were all over the locks and in my face as lost little faces hung over my demonstration lock while trying to articulate “right” and “left” by doing more than just pointing.
I love my new three ring circus. I love checking up on the kiddos that I worked with in elementary school. Today’s big news was, “Ms. [Interpreter]! So-and-so is wearing JEANS today! Look! It’s her first time wearing jeans!”
Awww, they grow up so fast.