Like most of the class, I was nervous about the first day at Broad Ripple Magnet School. I had never been in a teaching or mentoring position before, and my experience with middle schoolers was nonexistent. Going into that room on the very first day, I expected a lot of things. I imagined cataclysmic worst-case scenarios and pessimistic best-case scenarios to avoid disappointment. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much I ended up enjoying my time with my group.
Time and again, I’ve tried to come up with a way to describe the kids that we work with, and all I keep coming back to is, “they’re really something else.” Over the past couple weeks, it seems like as soon as I sit down with my group at our usual table, I don’t stop laughing until I’m heading out the door to go back to campus. Between writing, I feel like I find new areas of common ground with a student every Tuesday and Thursday. Whether it’s a cartoon we both watched as kids or a band that we both like, I’m always amazed by how easy it is to connect.
What also strikes me is how unabashedly honest the kids at Broad Ripple are, both with me and each other. In just two short weeks, I’ve already seen eighth graders communicate more clearly and openly with one another than many adults I know. They tell each other how they’re feeling and aren’t afraid to ask questions about what others might consider “sensitive topics.”
No matter how prepared I think I am for the next meeting, these kids always somehow manage to surprise me in the best ways. They’re funny, compassionate, and full of creativity. It’s been a wonderful experience getting to know them so far, and I only look forward to the rest of the time we have together.
Savannah Correll is a senior English major.