When I tell people I teach ninth graders, they often say things like, "I'm sorry" or "That has to be terrible". I adamantly disagree. Those of us who have the privilege of working with ninth graders know that they have their redeeming qualities, and that in the midst of the organized chaos that can be the typical freshman classroom, wisdom abounds.
Take, for example, the other day. While I was sweeping the dust off of my document camera, one of my students told me I was just like his dad. You can imagine my confusion when being compared to a man. My student went on to explain that his dad says their house is not clean if there is dust on tables, etc. I smiled, expecting to move on and hoping I wouldn't be called out on any more of my obsessive behaviors (we all know I'm anal about cleanliness).
My student continued with what I have to consider one of the most profound moments in my classroom this year. In a very straightforward tone, my student said, "Mrs. Runnells, you know what I tell my dad when he says that? I tell him that some people would kill to have dust because that means they would actually have a house." I smiled and told him that he was absolutely right, and that he understood something that even a lot of adults don't. What wisdom he shared; good for him to be able to see that there are those in need and to see that there is so much to appreciate in the simple aspects of life.
And that is why I adore my ninth graders. They know so much more than anyone gives them credit for...