I ran into one of the students from my internship last semester today. Fenix and I went to the library (where he got his very own library card, complete with a picture of a tiger on it:) and on our way out we saw Tammy on the steps. She was extremely nice and happy to see me and she hugged me. I don’t know that I can adequately describe in words why junior high kids are so amazing, but it was in the way she hugged me, or the fact that she hugged on her own, without prompting. When I decided to teach English I envisioned a high school classroom, everything very “Dead Poets Society”. But when I got placed at the junior high, my perceptions of who I wanted to be as a teacher, how I wanted to teach, and who I wanted to teach changed. It was not at all like “Dead Poets Society”, I’m not nearly as charismatic as Robin Williams; it was something different and it fit me completely. Tammy is great, because there were days when she was nothing but attitude. She’d roll her eyes at me, talk while I lectured, and reflect on how dumb whatever assignment we were doing was. Then there were days when she was nothing but compassion, in only a way an 8th grader can be– genuine. I had spent nearly 2 hours running around outside helping to orchestrate the scavenger hunt the students were doing. It had rained earlier that day and it was cold. By the time I came back in to get 8th period, my face was flushed and my nose runny. I must have looked like I was crying, because when Tammy came in (late) she took notice of this and leaned over to me sideways across her desk and asked “Mrs. Dietz? Are you O.K.?” There is something in the way she did THAT. The way she thought there might be a chance I, the teacher or almost teacher, was hurting and crying in class in the same way some the students do when they’re having an issue with a friend, a boy, etc (because 8th grade is very dramatic-another reason I love it). Moments like that, and like today when she hugged me, are the epitome of why I love junior high. As a teacher you are a staple in their life, even if it’s just for that year, or those 3 years that they’re at the school. You are more than just a teacher, instead you’re balancing somewhere in between teacher, friend, and parent. I really like that role. I fit that role. I love that this is what I get to do for the rest of my life. I love that my career will be just that, balancing somewhere in between teacher, friend, and parent.