Yesterday was a pretty intense day. It started at 6:30am with a thin woman in her 2013 BMW who rear-ended me on Lakeshore Drive. My new Prius C may be totaled. (More on this when I’m ready to talk about it.)
Then, later at school, it was the Constitution test that the students need to pass in order to graduate 8th grade. They have been preparing for this experience for well over a month. There has been a great deal of angsting and “sturm und drang” over the amount of material they need to absorb and integrate. This process has become quite the rite of passage, a kind of civic bar mitzvah. Yesterday, for an hour and a half, they pored over the questions with great focus and intensity.
I promised the kids I would have their tests graded today which went well into last night and took every moment of non-teaching time today to accomplish.
In my morning class, the kids were twitching with excess energy to find out what they got. I teased them a bit to drag out the suspense. That was when first one, then two, then the entire class began to enthusiastically jump up and down. They could not contain themselves.
“What are you doing?” I smiled.
“Free exercise,” they answered.
I could not hold my laughter. It came out in loud guffaws, tears collecting in my eyes.
“Exercising your rights is always a good thing.”
Even in my darkest of moods, middle school children in their sometimes innocent exuberance, make it hard to forget that there is great joy, simply in being alive.