Time for a little story, people! I was joking with Missy Jill @ What's Going On Here? earlier today about my teenage sledding stories, so I guess it's time to fess up. I always tell my students that I know exactly how they think. I also know it is in no way rational. (That's where the title of this post comes from.) And then I tell them my sledding stories.
One winter when I was still in 6th grade, we were out of school for an entire week because of snow. I think it snowed almost a foot, and kept refreezing and whatnot. So, my cousin, who was a year ahead of me in school, decided that we would take their new sled down the hill behind their house. (They lived on top of a steep hill.) There was a nice-sized pond at the bottom, and we didn't want to go into it. (Give us credit for that much forthought.) We, of course, did what any geniuses would do. We built a snow mound at the bottom to serve as a stopper. What we didn't consider is that this "snow mound" looked a lot like a ramp. We didn't want to be the ones to test it, so we decided that her little brother (then five, weighing in at like 45 pounds) should take the inaugural run. Thankfully, he had the good sense to say no. So, we sent the sled down with no one on it. It hit the ramp and flew out into the not-quite-frozen pond, and we had to admit our stupidity to get her older brother to get it out for us.
And I wish that was the worst one...
The following year, after another large snow fall, the same cousin and I are hanging out with a third friend. They had a ballgame that night, and before going into town, my aunt expressly told us that we were not to go sledding because she didn't want us worn out before the ballgame. As soon as she was out on the main road, we (in all of our brilliance) head to the slopes. We didn't even stay close to the house. NOOO...we trekked all the way across two fields to the meanest, nastiest hill on the farm. There was a thick ice on top of the snow, so when we went down in our round, metal trashcan-lid-like sled, we sailed. It went fine for the first few runs, but then we decided to go down lying on our bellies. Well, my cousin went down, going faster than ever and flew across the ice all the way to the flat space at the bottom of the hill. It was the best run of the day! The problem was that her sled stopped about five feet before she did, and she met the ice face first.
When she looked up, we realized that we had a problem. There was a place out of the bridge of her nose that was bleeding seriously, and she had scratches all over. It was then that the real chain of poor decisions began. We got back to the house and worked the stop the bleeding. Then we set about covering up her wounds, which went about as well as you might expect. Cover Girl can do a lot of things, but it's not so hot covering a gaping, still bleeding cut. We were sure, however, in our not-yet-ripe middle school minds that we were going to fool my aunt--the registered nurse. It played out like you would imagine. We lied, it didn't work, we got in some mild form of trouble. I am pretty sure that my aunt knew that the higest form of punishment was making my cousin go out with a cut face.
The moral of these stories is this: Middle schoolers aren't playing with a full deck. They don't know it. Their bodies are too full of hormones to notice any such defiency. Perhaps this is why I don't mind teaching them every day. I know that, sometimes, they just can't help it and cut them some slack. But not too much!