Aim High teacher, Crissy Emmons, spoke at our Annual Shorenstein Luncheon on May 28th. Our theme ‘Being 12’ was inspired by the WNYC series. Please enjoy Crissy’s speech below, in which she sheds light on the difficult transition that is adolescence.
In my first years of teaching, I vowed to stay away from 12 year olds because I knew that they lived on a different planet. They are all over the place… they are in love-hate relationships with their friends; one day they have all of their materials and the next they can’t even remember to bring their backpack. Hot Mess I tell you! Now, I call them MY 12 year olds. I started teaching middle schoolers in 2002, and over the last 13 years, I’ve learned to love and embrace each one who walks through my classroom. They challenge me everyday. What they need is more than someone who can teach them about the Renaissance or the Civil War. They need a mentor, a friend, a counselor, and a teacher who will embrace every aspect of who they are and give them a safe place to figure out exactly who that is…. 12-year-olds are so curious that they want to be many different things.. an athlete, musician, chef, artist, lawyer, doctor……..but if you ask them how they are going to get there, they have no idea. They’re too busy surviving middle school to figure it out….