Behind the Scenes of Eighth Grade
By Darcie Steeves, Eighth Grade Teacher
While pots of stone soup simmer away on the first floor of our school building, many things are afoot up all of those steps to the third floor. Here you will find 23 young people embracing the behemoth named “Your Waldorf Eighth Grade Year.”
If you peeked into our classroom this week, you would find these students studying the geography of Asia, with a dash of meteorology tossed in. They are writing poetry and multi-paragraph compositions of self reflection, editing their own and each other’s work, and solving algebraic equations. Their paintings and drawings would be worthy of a long pause, and their laughter would be the backdrop to your visit. You would witness their self-assurance, and the ease with which they move around our classroom, each other, and their teachers.
In addition to current classroom work, the eighth graders are looking after their first grade buddies, and will make sure there is a dragon to tame at our Michaelmas Festival. They will organize, prepare for, and track the business of pizza delivery every Thursday. At the end of this month each of them will submit their proposals for their 8th grade project, which they will conduct independently over the next few months under the coaching of a mentor, and present to the entire community in March.
As we sat around our campfire on a bike trip last week, my students tossed around creative ideas for the school circus they will host this year, and threw out suggestions for casting and staging our final class play together. In an unconscious attempt to tug at every last one of my heart strings, they sprinkled in tales of their favorite memories together, loved on each other, and sang for an hour.
As the adults in our school community we can smile at all this earnest sweetness, but we must not forget the profoundness of the year ahead for every 8th grader. They will each navigate how to say goodbye to CLWS and the staff here who love them, and make the decision of where to attend high school. The context for this significant transition is adolescence, with all of its twists, turns, quirks, and moments of discovery.
Our class thanks you for your support this year as you buy pizza, holiday greens, and sets of greeting cards to help fund our year-end class trip to Cape Cod. We will delight in your applause and laughter at our stunts and jokes at the circus, and welcome your attendance at our class play in April. And when you see a local 8th grader walking through the halls at school, give them a high-five. They’ve likely earned it.
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