Seventh graders. Ahhhh, those young energetic teens. They are our future world!
Do you ever have a conversation with them?
A while back, I had the opportunity to delve into their minds.
I must admit I had an unfair advantage. A captive
audience per se. Yes, luckily for them, art was a requirement in seventh grade.
Location of interviews? Art room…of course! And what a great conversation it was. These were engaged, sharing, active young people. When I was done with the interviews, I heard my inner voice say “You already knew that.”
Do you ever hear that voice?
So where do you think 7th graders fit in? I would be curious to hear your thoughts. ie: Intuitions.
I sense this seventh grade bubble thing…the not quite fitting in thing.
We all know things change as students enter seventh grade. Middle school
– the new norm – is gentler than being thrust into high school as a
newbie seventh grader in past decades. Still, there are so many new elements. They are no
longer the ‘elders’, and they aren’t ‘young’ in their own eyes. And the
hormones have not…well…kicked in completely. Can I say that?
My question is – what do seventh grade students do? You know. After school.
When I was growing up, my selection for after school activities looked like this: Speech, choir, band, theater, and sports. Add to that list: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FFA, FHA, etc.
Living in a rural setting, my choices were, shall I say, less available? I couldn’t drive. Dad was farming, and Mom was home taking care of the family. It was unlike the chauffeuring itinerary of current family life, or of both parents working outside of the home. I was a ‘country’ kid with no wheels, and definitely felt a disconnect. I think it was because I didn’t fit in either.
Those extra curricular activities? Yeah, not my niche. Even though I was in speech, I failed miserably. I tried theater and that didn’t go so hot either. But I loved art. And that was a dead end street.*
So. I. Thought.
Now back to these students I interviewed.
These attentive people were willing to honestly answer some of life’s persistent questions.
Like, “what do you do when you go home from school?’, ‘how many of you are in extra-curricular activities after school?’, and ‘what would you like to be doing after school?”
Remember – these are thirteen. year. old. students.
Their eyes lit up as they eagerly answered my regime of questions.
The last question of ‘what would you like to do after school’ offered some quite thought provoking answers. Answers like music, keyboard, baking, cooking, drawing automobiles, interactive art, airbrushing, weaving looms, sewing, metal work, wood working, welding and photography. Would you have guessed those responses?
These same students gave me the answers to what they do do after school:
Chores, homework, watch their siblings, go to a friends house, watch tv, and, play electronic games.
So my question to you is this.
Why do we not offer more opportunities to students who want to excel at their creative interest?
Is it the stigma of the arts being non-monetarily sufficient? Or is it non-productive?
If either is the answer, then I think we need to think again.
I don’t think they are in their own bubble.
I think it is us who are putting them in a bubble.
*To be continued.