The girls of summer

Today was the last day of summer school. When I woke up at 5:15 AM, my tired bones let me know that I was ready for my actual summer break.  Overall, it was a rather easy time.  The “worst” of the behavior issues were from my overactive guy who cannot sit still or keep quiet.  Other than that, the issues were more about self-regulation and being wiggly.  This was far easier than last year’s class that was dominated by a child on the spectrum who farted on other kids’ heads and could not keep his hands to himself.  I liked the kid a lot but he was definitely a test of my patience and tolerance.  Last year, I crashed in my recliner chair every single day when I got home but this year was a far different story.

This morning at arrival I was watching my early bird girls as they were eating breakfast and chatting with each other. I was thinking about how different they seem from the girls at the school I work at during the year. As I’ve written about before, the girls on the south end of town are far different than these girls.  The girls I’ve had for summer school are the same age that the south end girls were at this time last year but there are vast differences.  For one thing, my summer school girls are *tiny*.  They also love stuffed animals and other things that one would expect of little girls.  I’ve wondered how these girls would do if they were placed in my home school.  Would they be eaten alive?  Would they feel like alien creatures?

I can speculate that the girls on the south end have been forced to adopt their hard shell exteriors and attitudes to help them navigate their daily existences.  There’s a lot of evidence out there about the relationship between stress and issues with both mental and physical health.  While I know little about the lives of the summer school girls I can say that the vibe they give off is much different.  It’s far gentler and less defensive.  It feels like what little girls deserve to feel like.  No kid should have to feel like they have to build up a tough exterior just to be. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

If you like my posts, read 12’s Can’t Get 3’s: My Journey Through the Dark Underbelly of the Charter School Movement at Amazon.