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Chuck Brooks' column: Freshman navigate tricky transition to high school

Hello September and now, goodbye September. One down and eight-plus to go!

This year, my teaching load has changed after many years of the same schedule. Through last year, it had been creative writing and English 10 in the first two trimesters and then I would receive honors nine classes and keep some of my English 10 kids. This year, no more creative writing. Instead, I have the freshmen from the start, along with my English 10 students. It’s actually similar to how my career began here.

I felt the newness had probably worn off for the freshmen by this time, so I thought, “What better time than now to bring back to all of you “From The Mouths of Babes.” I asked my freshmen, with several weeks under their belts now, how high school was going for them. Some of these are simply too precious not to share. So, enjoy!

“People always say upperclassmen are going to be mean to you, but in reality, they don’t say a single word to you if you leave them alone.” Perhaps we should have a stairwell for upperclassmen and another stairwell for only freshmen. The honesty here is charming.

“I now need to work harder than I ever have, and that is super scary.” Everything is relative. Wait until this one gets to college!

This was simply stated; although, I saw multiple comments of a similar nature. “I feel like I am being pushed.” The reference, of course, is to the classroom and the thinking.

Un-derstand that this next one comes from a young man who is on crutches at the present time. His honesty couldn’t be more refreshing. And humorous. “It’s a lot better than I expected! I expected to get beaten up but instead, I’m just left alone (cuz I’m a cripple).”

As we know, perspective can be skewed at any point in our lives. There were so many comments about middle school life I did not share because it put that life in a less than attractive light, even though I know that’s not what they meant to do, but this comment just had to be one I used. “It is a lot more work than middle school, especially now that grades actually count.”

“The New World brought what I thought it would bring. Adulthood.”

I am sorry we are disappointing this student. I think it funny any of them want to hear about this topic. “I expected more teachers to share family info, but they’re all closed off about their personal lives.” Imagine that. We’re tight-lipped about life outside of RHS. Wow.

“I need to adjust a little more to using which stairwell at what time. The B-stairwell, to me, feels like walking into death.”

“The teachers are nicer than they said they would be.” Who said we wouldn’t be? Huh? Who?

“…you are forced to be more focused or you will struggle.”

“I love high school!”

“Really, high school is just middle school on steroids.” Never thought of it like that.

One of my favorites. “Well, at first, I felt uncomfortable but after a week or two, I started to get the hang of things. I feel like there is a lot more pressure in high school than in middle school because you have to try harder. Sometimes, I forget to wear socks to school and those days are rough.” Ain’t it the truth.

So there you have a smattering of my freshmen’s thoughts regarding the “New World” here at the high school. What I might miss in teaching creative writing, I gain it and more in the freshness and the candor of the freshman being. My first year of teaching, I taught only freshmen. It’s nice that as my career comes to a close, I return to that world. They make me smile. They make me laugh. It’s a win — win scenario.

A final comment for the week. I’ve received so many kind comments from so many of you via one means or another regarding our weekly communication. I just want to say thank you. I truly enjoy writing for you, and if you truly enjoy reading my thoughts, then I’m more than happy to return each week to share more with you as The View From My Room changes almost daily. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. They are appreciated. Happy October!