Throughout February, my fourth and fifth graders have been tackling texts regarding civil rights issues. One such text accurately stated: “Before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, black and white children couldn’t live, play, or go to school together.” This was followed by a multiple choice question: “When were black and white children able to live, play, and go to school together?” Of course, my bright students quickly underlined the text evidence citing the “correct” answer, the 1960s.
Markel gets down on one knee and holds up a fake ring. “Ms. Stark, you are a princess!” he tells me. Annoyed that he stopped reading his book, I inform him that it is inappropriate for a nine year old to propose to his teacher. This probably explains why my end-of-day goodbye to him is matched with an inordinately angry, “goodbye, old lady.” My co-teacher glances up, confused, since I’m the youngest staff member in the building. I’m too exhausted to explain the situation. “Unrequited love,” I say, shrugging it off.