Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

Phew! I've been out of the blogosphere for a while, having spent last week taking a bunch of 7th graders into the wilderness. Yes, I know, very Lord of the Flies.

But in fact these kids were all sweet, well-adjusted, kind, friendly, and helpful to each other. There was nary an awkward teen among the bunch. No exclusionary cliques or power-mongering "popular" people out to destroy the "nerds." Oh, sure, they were fond of throwing rocks the size of coconuts and dancing around with their pocket knives in hand, and they often spilled dinner on the ground when cooking it (then threw it back into the pot, because after all, we had to eat).

Yet overall I was quite impressed with their group dynamics. They all go to a very small private middle school in Seattle, and I tell you, their seeming well-adjustedness was enough to make me want to send my future (hypothetical) kids to private school after being a lifelong, die-hard believer in public schools.

Anyway. It's all part of my plan to move into lower- and lower-paying work, which is going quite nicely, thank you very much.

"This is so much better than school!" yelled one kid as he plunged into the icy, sparkling Skokomish River on a 90-degree day after hiking for five hours. Insert the phrase "sitting in a windowless office doing work that makes me despise myself even though it pays a lot (though not as much as it used to)" for "school" and you have my sentiments exactly.