There is a line from the Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers” where he says “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.”  As the time came for me to apply for student teaching through IUPUI there was NO DOUBT to my path; I choose certifications to teach high school and not just any old high school level, my focus was on upper high school government, economics, or US History classes.  I strongly worded my upper high school preference for both student teaching placements to the IUPUI student teaching department and, as you can imagine, they gave me less that what I wanted.  Right there on my student teacher assignment paper was written,  Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School, Grade 7, World History (10 weeks) and Westfield High School, Government and Economics (6 weeks).


It was almost comical to me when I read the IUPUI placement letter.  My major teaching experience was going to be in a grade that I had no desire to teach in a subject that I possessed little background.  Grrrr.  I went to the office immediately and made my displeasure known and, obviously, I made no impact and the decision stood.  Double Grrrr.  On top of working, taking summer school classes, and the birth of Ally in July I went into student teaching fully unprepared in an unfamiliar subject with an unfamiliar age.

Well somehow the placement was perfect.  I loved every day of my junior high student teaching experience.  They were smarter than I thought they would be and they had a love of life that brought energy into every day.   Whatever I tried they were ready to participate.  We laughed every day, every period.  They taught me so much during those 10 weeks.  I felt a profound sense of loss when the experience ended.  I did not want to leave them.  Two of my students, Amy and Lindsey, made me a picture book with pictures of every class and school pics and candid shots collected from the year.  The picture book still sits on my desk in my home office; it is precious to me.

What the Class of 2002 really did was put me on the path of teaching junior high.  I enjoyed student teaching at Westfield, BUT it was not the same.  I loved those  junior high kids and still hold them dear to my heart.  They made me want to come back to junior high and stay in Indiana instead of moving  back to Colorado; it was the BEST decision of my teaching career.  Junior high and I were meant for each other; after completing my 17th year there is not a day that I regret my choice to teach junior high school.  Every day I owe a thanks to that terrific group of kids; the Class of 2002.