Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blogging Through The Years: Sixth Grade

I'm currently blogging through my years in school. I just recently finished up elementary school. Catch up on all you missed here!

I started 6th grade in August 1999 and I can't say I was excited. I was starting middle school, which was a little scary for me to think about. And I was at a brand-new school where I didn't know a single soul - besides my brother, of course. My mom, my brother, and I had recently moved into a condo not too far from the school. And this meant I had to bike to school. Every single day. I could never do anything cute with my hair (not that it ever did look cute at eleven!) because of my bike helmet. And biking to school was the worst when it was cold outside and you had to bike against the wind. Gosh, I hated that.

Actually, I hated everything about 6th grade.

During my first day, I managed to befriend a girl named Chelsea who would end up becoming my best friend throughout middle school. She was this short, athletic, extremely smart girl and we formed a quick bond with each other. Through Chelsea, I ended up meeting more people and we soon had our own group of friends that just grew as the years went on.

One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was my insomnia. During 6th grade, I had awful insomnia. My mom was clinically depressed, being that she was learning how to be a single mom to two adolescents and dealing with her deadbeat ex-husband. I hate to say it but this was such a tough year for all of us and this is the one year I can't fully say my mom was there for me. She was dealing with her own inner demons and trying so hard to be a good mother to my brother and me. I'm not quite sure what caused the insomnia, but I'm sure my parents' divorce was hugely to blame, even though I pretended I was fine with it. I never took sleeping pills or saw a doctor about it. I tried warm milk a few times but it never helped. (Plus, it was disgusting!) I tried sleeping on the loveseat but after my grandma told my mom that was a bad idea, I was banned from the living room. I eventually developed a system on my own of cuddling with my stuffed animals on the floor while reading a book. I would fall asleep sometime in the middle of the night and crawl into bed.

I remember feeling so excited the next night after dealing with a bad bout of insomnia because I knew I would be able to fall asleep faster than usual because I was so tired. The insomnia made my life pure hell and I don't think I was ever really happy this year. But I didn't talk about it to anyone but my mom and my grandma. And maybe I should have seen a doctor about this but it's in the past now. (And there are a few songs from 1999 that I just can't listen to because they remind me of this time in my life.)

During my first semester of 6th grade, I ended up making straight A's. Up until this point, I was mainly an Honor Roll student, pullling mainly B's on report cards. Straight A's was wonderful! And then on my third report card, I made my first D. It was in a class with a teacher who really shouldn't be teaching. He taught straight from the book and never incorporated any other lessons. Here was what we did, every single week: Monday-Wednesday, read through the chapters out loud. Thursday, we did two worksheets from the teacher's guide. Friday, we took a test over the unit. I think we drew a map once. But that's about it. He was an awful teacher.

This was the year I took the gym/health rotation. It was fourth period and we had gym for 2 semesters, health for 2 semesters, and then gym again for the last 2 semesters. I hated gym. HATED IT! Mainly because my fifth period class was on the exact opposite side of campus. So I would have to rush out of there and hurry as quickly as I could to my fifth period. I was always so, so nervous I was going to be late. Once, I was ten steps away from the building where my fifth period was and heard the bell ring. But when I got to my class, as it turns out, my gym class had left early and that bell was actually the first bell rung! Never the less, I was scared every day of being late to fifth period.

Needless to say, fifth period was my absolute favorite class. It was Reading with an off-the-wall, kooky teacher who did dog breeding on the side. Her class was so much fun and taught me so much about reading and analyzing and writing. I loved this class. In the class, two people every semester were given the job of "librarian." The librarians got to sit at the front of the class at their own table and were in charge of "checking out" books and taking care of secretarial class. No lie, I think I was the class librarian for three semesters. This class had about 10 bookshelves full of books, all arranged in genres and alphabetized. My teacher had a list of all her books and how they were supposed to be arranged. And if you were lucky and had free time at the end of class, you could do "inventory" where you would take a binder with the lists and go through the books to make sure everything's in its proper place. I loved doing inventory. I think we all did. We also read a book this year with the word "damn" in it. We were all scandalized, especially since we were reading the book out loud and we came upon the word. I remember my teacher saying, "It's OK. It's just a word. You can say it." And then the student whispering the word and everyone giggling.

I wasn't a big fan of 6th grade. It was a tough year for me and I dealt with a lot. My entire middle school career was pretty awful. I hated these three years and while talking about them is cathartic, it's still pretty emotional.
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