S: Teach for America: Nashville 2010-2012
BC: ...it is a crazy town.
FC: Teach for America: Nashville Corps 2010
1: "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt | ...and so it begins.
2: We will be competitive citizens of the world! | YEAR 1
4: Roll into town, step off the bus, shake off the where-you-came-from dust. Grab your guitar, walk down the street, sign says | NASHVILLE, TENESSEE
5: We love it! We hate it! We're all just trying to make it...in this CRAZY TOWN! | First ride in the new car. I'm in my element! | My new room, with Butterfly of course!
6: Post Levesque-fast. My parents are a hit!
7: 420 Elmington Avenue #501 Nashville, TN 37205 | "We were strangers, starting out on a journey, never dreaming what we'd have to go through."
8: McMurray MS
9: back to | "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead
10: Bryan Chavarria | Carmen Caruso | Fryda Rodriguez | Justin Velasquez | McMurray Middle School | Carlos Salgado | Jennifer Arzate
11: My First Homeroom Class "The Sequel is Never the Best" | Katherine Iglesias | Marisol | Diana Lopez | Ismael Valdez | Amber Martin | Cassie Love | Nagon Channakone | Bernadina Valle | Tanya | Jaime Cruz | Darion Poston | Lorenzo Montelier | Amad Amedi | Ana Caravez | Vanessa
12: A New School Year | The office called me downstairs as the bell rang and held me there under the pretense that they "forgot" what they wanted me for. After 5 minutes I rushed back to my room where my students were excitedly waiting to sing to me! Little did I know the surprises wouldn't end there. I drove home while on the phone with my dad. When I arrived, he asked me if the flowers he sent had arrived yet. I checked, but saw nothing. He was very upset, complaining that he paid extra for them to be delivered on time. It was just barely 5 o'clock, so, in an attempt to appease him, I checked again. In a million years, I never would have guessed what was waiting for me on the other side of that door. I have never been so happy to see my mom! And of course, she was holding flowers. In one quick weekend, she got my hectic teacher life back on track. She graded my papers (stopping occasionally to laugh at their crazy foreign names), while I planned my lessons, and just like that, I stopped surviving and started thriving. | 22
14: During the fall, we made our first trip to the emergency room, as I had sliced my finger trying to open a package with my new Rachel Ray knife. We brought school work with us, but spent most of the time stealing glances at the cute doctor. Katey turned 23, and while the two of us walked the quintessential streets of Franklin, I was orchestrating a surprise dinner for the birthday girl, and it went off without a hitch! Finally in November, Katey's darling cousin, Breanna came to visit. We cooked our first Thanksgiving feast, and still managed to make it to Target for Black Friday the following morning.
15: Fall in Nashville is spectacular! In a short time the leaves change from emerald green to radiant oranges and reds, until the streets and hillsides look like they are ablaze.
16: A lifetime first for this California girl and her roommate from the Sunshine State. | ...and that's exactly how we felt.
17: It's true what they say...teachers have more fun on snow days than their students! | The Cottage
18: Katey and I celebrated our first snow day together! We were sitting in our living room frantically checking the MNPS website and SnowBird ticker tape for updates on Davidson County. When it was finally announced that MNPS had canceled school we screamed! A lifetime first for California and Florida natives! ...off to The Cottage!
19: Elmington Park
20: We survived the "Tail of the Dragon"...
21: ...and had a wonderful time at the cabin in Bryson City, NC. | After a full week of snow days (and an elated realization that Nashville just cannot handle the snow) we drove out to Bryson City, NC to spend MLK weekend at Katey's cabin. Marishka, Kelsey, Kaylynn (and Brad!), and Heather joined us as well. We ate delicious food, played games, and even raced daringly around the house in our swimsuits. Somehow, amidst all the fun, a one-eyed dog stumbled into the cabin and adopted us as his temporary owners. We bathed him, fed him, and renamed him One-Eyed Jack.
22: Labs were few and far between during that first year. Too many students and not enough discipline was just a recipe for disaster that I tried to avoid; however, we did manage to make it through our labs and were only one beaker short at the end of the year. In 8th grade science, we built electromagnets, observed physical and chemical changes, and competed as Straw, Spoon, Fork and Knife Finches for food in our natural selection lab. They also tested the elasticity of hot, cold and room temperature rubber bands. My physical science students, were frustrated when I told them, the day before Thanksgiving break, that we needed more electron configuration practice, but that soon melted into elation when I pulled out the tray of sugar cookies and bags of frosting. These students also held our First Annual Rube Goldberg Convention when they spent their spring break designing and creating complex machines. | Labs
24: Spring Break 2011 The "friend family" made the trek out to California. We traveled through San Francisco, Berekeley, Napa and Walnut Creek.
25: Spring break in the Golden State! We toured San Francisco and enjoyed deluxe accommodations at the Clift, although the city itself didn't cooperate as nicely. The fog made sightseeing nearly impossible. On our way back home we stopped in at Cafe Intermezzo in Berkeley. For our last day on the Best (I mean West) coast, we wined tasted in Napa.
26: "When you're the best of friends, having so much fun together, you're not even aware, you're such a funny pair, you're the best of friends!" - The Fox and the Hound
27: The previous day, the fog was so thick that we could not see the bridge even when we were on it! Thankfully, the skies parted before we left the city, and everyone was able to see the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory! | Our "Friend Family"
28: Beech Bend
29: Every year, the 8th graders go on a field trip to Beech Bend amusement park in Bowling Green, KY. We meet at school early, hop on a bus and drive an hour to play all day in the park. Watching my ELL kids was the best part because most of them had never seen a roller coaster before, but by the end of the day, their apprehension had turned into pure joy! | Mrs. Lassen and Kue Htoo | Tha Me | Aung Twe and Kue Htoo | Howgin!
30: Earlier in the year, Andy and I went to the wrestling championships together. My students thought we were dating, and since we weren't yet, I told them he was my cousin to throw them off track. It wasn't long before they figured out I lied to them, and they have called Andy "cousin" ever since. During the last week of school, those boys decorated my photo album with this advice. | Class of | 2015
31: I prayed for this moment quite often in August and September, but now that the end of the year is here, I am not ready to say goodbye. During the last week we spent a day at Beech Bend, created 8th grade superlative awards, played outside for a day and competed in intramurals against the 7th grade. It was a wonderful send off, but suddenly I found myself wanting so badly to hold on.
32: I My | It was shortly after TCAP and we were watching Disney Oceans. My students and I watched, in awe, as the seagulls swooped in to eat the baby turtles trying to make it out to sea. With each snatched turtle my class collectively flinched. Finally, one of my ELL students, Gay Htoo, had had enough. He screamed at the movie, "Oooh nooo! Poot it bah-ck!" His raw emotion, coupled with his adorable accent, was enough to send me over the edge, and I burst out laughing. | My first half day at McMurray, we met with our homebase class only. For me, that meant I met my advanced physical science students that were taking my class for high school credit. "Alright" I thought. "This isn't going to be nearly as bad as everybody warned. These kids seem pretty normal." On my second day, we met with all classes. I saw my advanced first period again, then my second period walked in. "Uh oh." I started to call roll, but all I heard myself say were unintelligible sounds. Kue Htoo, Gay Htoo, Lah Htoo, Paw Htoo, Razee Ra, Tha Me, Pa Lu Aung, Aung Twe...and the list goes on. I didn't know it then, but I would end the year dying to become an ELL teacher. Those kids were my favorite! | Around October 2010, when the Giants were making a huge run through the playoffs (and eventually won the World Series) "Cute Teacher" (Kevin Handerhan) and I started to have flirty banter about the Phillys and Giants.. It was totally innocent, but it made coming to school a lot more fun knowing that I would get to send a few emails back and forth with him throughout the day. Around that same time we were having a dance, and when I made that announcement in my 1st period class, they all started asking who I was going with. It wasn't long before they all decided that it would be a great idea for me to go with Mr. Handerhan. "He's so cute Ms. Levesque!" "And he doesn't have big ears like Coach Stein!" I finally told them that we needed to move on, and all questions from this point forward need to be related to atoms. Fryda raised her hand. "Will you go to the dance with Mr. Handerhan? Atoms."
33: Students | It was January, and Andy and I both had students in a wrestling tournament over the weekend, so naturally, even though we were not yet dating, we went together. We sat with my school (watching Kue Htoo, Lah Htoo, and Aung Twe) and my kids got a kick out of the fact that I was there with a boy. The following Monday, they were hounding me about my new boyfriend. "He's not my boyfriend," I tried to explain, and when they refused to believe me I was forced to lie, "He's my cousin." It wasn't until April, when I was pulled into Ms. Sehring's room to sit in the Hot Seat, that my students found out I actually did have a boyfriend. The next day, Kue Htoo asked me about my boyfriend, and I finally confessed that they had met, all the while forgetting about my previous lie. His eyes got really big as a smile spread across his face and he said, "You cousin!" I don't think those boys ever even bothered to remember Andy's name, from that point forward, he was "Cousin". | Lah Htoo came to school one day towards the end of the year looking like he had been beaten to a pulp. His eyes were swollen, his nose was cut and his jaw looked like it had been dislocated. "He fell down" was all his friends would say. Lah Htoo wouldn't talk and it wasn't until lunch that I realized he couldn't eat either. How long had it been since he ate anything? I asked him later if he wanted a smoothie, but "smoothie" doesn't exactly translate, so I just bought him two and brought them to school the next day. He LOVED them! He walked around nursing those smoothies all day, and finally was able to crack a small smile. | Davontae Brown came to McMurray during December 2010. Looking at him I thought, "Oh boy. Will we ever get a new kid that's good?" Then he came into class and completely erased that thought from my mind. He was polite, sweet and so smart. It was right around that time that I started reading a science-fiction novel to my class. I read a few chapters to his class, while he listened, enthralled. During one of my later classes, he walked back in, asked if he could listen to the story again, and sat, silently listening to me all over again.
34: Four days of my favorite music with my favorite people.. I was in heaven!
35: CMA Fest: My favorite music with my favorite people. I was in heaven! | CMA Fest
36: McMurray basketball court | Birthday surprise! | McMurray dance | ER visit! | Our very first flecks of snow | Pedestrian bridge to the Titans game | One-Eyed Jack | Black Friday! | My first southern dish: congealed "salad" | Karen New Year festivities | Crafting a movie night fire | I told Lah Htoo to draw me Cinderella | First date! Needed outfit approval | Ellie's Flat Stanley | Best friends. We had a dream, a tan and a cute new car. We had it all.
37: My first turkey! | Snow angel! | Phallic graffiti at McMurray...gross! | Fun with stunts! | The Parthenon | Opryland at Christmas | Surprise Valentine's dinner | Best roommate ever! | The sunroom's only purpose | Finally! | Snow day sleepover at The Cottage | We love each other! | Mr. Napk-uh-Scarf Head | Random from my first year in Nashville
38: We will be independent learners so we will be ready for college. | YEAR 2
40: On the last day of every month, Allison Wolverton would scream down the hall after school, "Tina! You know what today is?" Let's do it! She would come down to my room, and as we discussed the latest gossip or student drama, she would brainstorm the design for our month and I would execute it. Then we would move our operation into her room so that our boards always matched. Partners in crime. | Classroom 213. I think I spent more time here than in my apartment. It became my second home.
42: Well, good news is that I have enough lab pictures from this second year to fill multiple spreads. Bad news is, we broke about 8 beakers in the process. Oh well! Here are some highlights from first semester labs. Once again, my 8th graders built electromagnets (far more successfully than last year since I went out and bought new batteries), and competed in our natural selection lab. My physical science students had a blast debating the state of matter of Oobleck and even more fun when I surprised them once again with sugar cookies for electron configuration practice. | Labs
43: Juan Carillo proving that even straw finches can survive in this environment.
44: 23 | Birthday and 6-month anniversary flowers from Andy
45: Colbie Caillat performing at Tin Roof
46: Surprise birthday brunch at Pfunky Griddle where you can make your own pancakes!
47: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln
48: Fall Break 2011
49: Back to the bay! Mom and I spent the night at the Clift and woke up before dawn to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon. We had the time of our lives and it only got better when we finished and those sexy fireman in tuxedos waited for us with a platter full of Tiffany's necklaces. The theme of the race was "I run to be", so mom and I had ours engraved to say "together." Andy and I flew back to Nashville a few days early and drove up to Kentucky to go to the horse races at Keenland. Fancy!
50: California, take two! This time around we got beautiful weather and took advantage of it by going to Baker's Beach and Muir Woods. Teddy, Sarah, Katey, Andy and I stayed at the Clift after the half marathon and ate lunch with Teddy's parents the next day.
52: Luis, Oscar, Tatiana and Tiara Eh Dah Doh, Agar, Frankie and Genesis | Electron configuration cookies Diamond and Stanley | Poe Reh, Plu Reh , Maha and Sabha Our November month design Toni, Yomi, Merna and Sam
53: Laura Sturm and I coached the girls basketball team during the 2011-2012 season. This picture was taken on the day we got our sweatshirts...and our first WIN! (Monica, Tatyanna, Wendy, Gloria, Sam, Diamond, Halayah, Jamison, Tatiana, Ericca and Zeniya) | Imauri and Anais
54: Mom and Dad met my favorite boys, Lah Htoo and Tha Me (Kue Htoo couldn't make it). They quickly understood why I love these boys so much, and sent presents out a week later.
55: Graduating with my Masters in Education, with TJ Playne, Kristen Mast and Meredith McCoy
57: My graduation from Lipscomb University brought my parents back to Nashville for the second time in two months. What a treat! I picked them up from the airport (after basketball practice, clearly) and brought them to the glorious Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It is always a treat to have family in town!
59: Gaylord Opryland Hotel is aglow with over a million lights at Christmas time--a breath-taking sight to behold! During the holidays Katey, Andy, Tee, Josh, Will and I stayed at Opryland for a night. We walked around in our pajamas all night staring at the beautiful lights. At 2am, Tee and Andy were so hungry that they ordered a pizza and had to run 1/2 mile off the property just to pick it up.
60: Let The Good Times Roll | Andy and I met in Vegas as our Christmas gift to each other. My parents got there a day later and we all watched SMC play in the Christmas tournament. As an added bonus, Alyssa was able to come to a game!
63: Sips 'n' Strokes January 2012 | No way would I have put a dot of paint on a pristine white canvas without a little wine first. What a blast!
64: Diet Mountain Dew cupcakes for Andy!
65: Pink carnations from Dad!
66: sunshine | I love my brother! | Beau was the leading rebounder with 6! | St. Mary's 51 | Murray St. 65 | Twelve of us made the trip to Murray State to watch the Gaels take on the Racers. Unfortunately, the Gaels could not stop the 3-point threat from the Racers and lost 51-65. However, the blow of the loss was softened by the fact that Beau played incredibly well! Six points, six rebounds, and an infectious desire to win. | GO GAELS!
67: spring | ESPN Bracketbuster | bloom | Dinner with Corey, DeShawn, Laura, Katey, Anthony, Maddison, Josh, Tee and Andy.
69: I scheduled a sub, hopped on a plane, and met my family in Vegas for the WCC tournament. I must be the good luck charm, because just like in 2010, SMC defeated Gonzaga (this time in overtime) to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. | 2012
70: 2012 WCC Regular Season and Tournament Champions
73: In the aftermath of victory, Mom and I joined Beau and his teammates in the hotel club and shared a "Buttery Nipple" shot. What a night!
74: Beau Visits McMurray! | My physical science class with Beau. Toni, Beau, Sarai, Haveen, Arlette, Huda, Sam (heart), Shandra, Merna, Nancy, Yasmin, Carlos, Ericca, Koko, Tecka, Sabastian, Yomi, Merna, Nancy and Yasmin. | Clearly being a middle school celebrity takes a lot out of you!
75: You would've thought that Justin Beiber himself showed up at McMurray on that Friday morning. Having Beau at school was an unbelievable experience. Students crowded into my classroom during every class change for a chance at an autograph and picture with my famous brother. During class we played boys against girls hangman, movie trivia and charades. Later, Beau and I joined the students for PE and he was able to show off his basketball skills! | Show off!
77: Katey, Tee, Andy and I packed in the Element for an 8-hour road trip down to Destin, FL. We had the time of our lives boogie boarding, swimming, sleeping, reading, and throwing the frisbee on the beach. | Molly had a princess party with lots of games, friends and a special princess cake. We spent the day at Fairytale Town and the kids had a blast making their own princess crowns and wands. The best part was when the princess came out to surprise Molly, the look on her face when she saw a real live princess was priceless. What a fun day! | Destin, FL Sandestin Resort April 3-7, 2012
78: Post-breakup. Perfect time for an influx of moms into Apt. 501. Mom, Michelle and Lyse all arrived Thursday and, as per usual, Mom showed off her cooking skills on Friday with a delicious salmon dinner. We all had a blast running through Nashville on Saturday, and finalized the weekend with delicious pancakes at Pfunky Griddle on Sunday. | Pfunky Griddle for pancakes the next morning. | Free beer for the finishers! | Me, Katey and our iconic skyline.
79: Country Music Half Marathon April 28, 2012 | Michelle and Mom at the finish! | Pre-race...trying to look awake at 6am.
80: Opry Belle
81: She will never know just how much happiness she brought into my life on that day.
84: Beech Bend | Ms. Waters and Ms. Smith | Me and Luis and our sunglasses! | Tiara and Ms. Wolverton
85: Once again, Beech Bend did not disappoint. We brought 75 of our best behaved 8th graders and everyone had an amazing time running around to all of the rides. Luis was by far the most excited to go...he talked to me and Ms. Wolverton about it for weeks! | Really Ms. Wolverton?! | Luis and Sam | Victor and So Mo Ou on the bus home
86: During the final few days of school, we had 8th grade awards (academic and silly), watched my slideshow and had our 8th grade celebration. Lots of planning, but LOTS of fun! | Class of | 2016
87: I don't think anybody has ever loved their job as much as I did this year. While teaching is an unbelievable challenge, it was a challenge that I woke up everyday excited to take on. When I first learned that I would be teaching science in Nashville, I naively changed my Facebook status, thanking TFA for creating my dream job. I had no idea how much of a dream come true this experience would actually be. | Poe Reh, Plu Reh and Beh Reh
88: I My | The end of April was a bit of a rough time, as I was coping with the break up blues. One Monday night was particularly emotional, and I went to school the next day with my head in a fog. As I was sitting in our team meeting at the end of the day, Rowan (my favorite!) knocked on the door, looked at me and said, "I left something on your desk for you," then quickly left, probably embarrassed that he had just walked into a room with all of his teachers. Did he have something of mine? Colored pencils maybe? Overdue homework? Yeah right. When I got back to my room, sitting on my computer was a jumbo bag of Peanut M&Ms. It was as if he knew I needed a pick-me-up. Like I said...my favorite! | Luis Gopar, AKA the sweetest child on the planet, was in my class for the first month of school, then taken out to be in Special Education. He always came up to me throughout the year to give me a hug and tell me how excited he was about the next school event. We really bonded on our trip to Beech Bend, and on the last day of school, he hugged me, cried, and handed me this letter: Dear Mrs. Lesveque, I have a nice day a Carlifornia. You have a nice school because you my favorite teacher and I came your class and they move to me. I want to go back your class then thank you for the Beech Bend and dance and I love you so much with best teacher me Mrs. Lesveque and Mrs. Wolvertoon we take pictures for the dance and yearbook and I will miss you next year we have so much fun at the Beech Bend park and the dance then Mrs. Wolvertoon has a darerr but nice to me you her darerr then last year I can come to the dance I forgot my money cost five dollars I will tell you about Samantha Sheene I like her song and I love it it was fantastic and I want to cry hug Samantha Mrs. Lesveque and Mrs. Wolvertoon then I will miss you next year good luck next year thank you for need me at the dance it was fun and nice to your brother Mrs. Levesque then I want I go to Carlifornia but if ask my mom the will let me go if not then we can go with my mom on summer brake then I set you a photo for you and thanks for everything. Love Mrs. Lesveque I love you so much By: Luis Gopar
89: Summertime was in full swing and Laura Sturm and I were psyched to go to the Brothers of the Sun concert at LP Field. Then morning of the concert, Sam Sheene messaged me on Twitter, telling me that her dad (who works on Kenny Chesney's crew) had two "Sandbar passes" for us. We met him prior to the concert and he gave us the wristbands that got us literally five feet from the stage. It was incredible! We gawked at Tim in his tight white jeans, and when Kenny came out, he touched my hand! I know what you're thinking...shoulda been a teacher! | Students | Ang Vu, just the name is a little intimidating. He was expelled in January of his 7th grade year for bringing knives to school. Yikes. He joined us in 8th grade after Christmas break, and after all I had heard, I was a little nervous. I don't know if it was because he liked my class, liked me, or something else, but he exceeded all of my (admittedly low) expectations.. He was a smart kid and I quickly raised my expectations of him. and he rose to the challenge. By the end of the year, he was outspoken about how much he loved my class, and did so well on his final state test (TCAP). Somehow, I reached him. This is the note he wrote in my yearbook: Ms. Levesque, you are a great teacher. Kick some butt over there in Cali. You teached me a lot of think and I don't know how to thank you for everything. Keep your head high and don't forget bout me cuz I won't forget bout you. McMurray will miss you! Love your student, Ang Vu | Haveen Yunus, a brilliant girl in my Physical Science class wrote me a sweet note in my yearbook: Ms. Levesque, Well...first off, your class is awesome. Your one of the best teachers I've been blessed with. Your extremely unique and absolutely beautiful--inside and out. You're so funny and smart, and just a really sweet person. Don't ever forget us-your 8th grade class (of '16). We'll never forget you. Have a great time in Cali. God Bless.
90: #mojitomonday at Greenhouse Bar Maddison, Katey, Tee, Andy and I relaxed (after a long day by the pool) with a tasty drink and watched the NBA finals (Heat vs. Thunder).
91: I was checking things off my Nashville Bucketlist with every opportunity. Andy and I went to the Grand Ole Opry (using Aunt Suzi's graduation gift for our tickets). We saw Little Jimmy Dickens, Carrie Underwood, Easton Corbin and Love and Theft. Then, after a few failed attempts, I did the ultimate southern kid thing and caught a firefly in a mason jar. | CHECK! | CHECK! | Catch a firefly in a mason jar... | See Carrie Underwood in concert...
92: Good times are even better when shared with | Enjoy the sunset at Arrington Vineyards...CHECK! (with Tee, Sarah, Teddy, Katey, Maddison and Andy, who took the picture)
93: "Friends are Flowers that Never Fade" | Go to the red carpet at the CMT Awards...CHECK! | Venus was between Earth and the Sun, so we kept adding sunglasses until we could look at the sun and know for sure.
94: Andy's "last night" in Nashville (I put that in quotes because, little did we know that Andy would actually drive back from Madisonville five times after this to see us) was cause for celebration. After going out for dinner and drinks, the five of us (plus one adorable puppy) congregated at The Cottage for one last hoorah. Katey and Tee scrounged up some costumes for us, and when we couldn't find cards, we played the "Andy-ism" drinking game. This was the last time the five of us were together, and it was wonderful.
95: Andy had recently discovered Twitter and Instagram. Social media hasn't been the same since.
96: At Andy's cousin's wedding | #amerrrica | Quick trip to the strip on our layover | We made it! | Slice #2 | Anthony topping the cottage's tree | My team | #iamtheluckycharm | Hunger Games cake for Tee | Pfunky Griddle birthday surprise | TJ, my 8th gr. science partner in crime | Track coaches | With David at Christmas time | David Omasombo with his amazing teacher | You and me little girl. You and me.
97: Katey's birthday treats | Smooshing Amazon bugs | Beau's first hockey game | Where I taught and Learned | Music City 1/2 marathon | Andy got into med school | Visiting Katey's class | Rowan knew the key to my heart | I mean...c'mon! | Horse races at Keeneland | Presents from Mom and Dad | Haley came to visit (TFA St. Louis) | We run to be "together". | The gang for the Murray St. game | Random from my second year in Nashville
98: 2010-2011 | 2011-2012
99: At the end of each year I told my students, "I have learned more from you this year than you have from me." I may have taught them a lot about science, but at the end of the day, they taught me more about life. My students taught me: To have patience. 8th graders like to be treated like adults. ...but they will do just about anything for a piece of candy. How to say "hello" and "I love you" in Karen. That planning ahead is critical. That learning to say "no" is equally critical. That no matter how independent they try to be, 8th graders love to be loved. That the messiest labs are always the most fun. That if you say it, they will hold you to it. That a smile crosses all language barriers. That high expectations will be met. To have faith in people. That I was absolutely positively born to teach. I love it.