Here’s looking at you kid
September 6, 2012 4 Comments
There is such a difference between a kid in grade 9 and a kid in grade 12 (or in this particular case, a kid in that ‘extra’ year they can do after grade 12). Picture day is tomorrow. Grade 9 kids will be stressing tonight. This particular high school doesn’t have uniforms so – what to wear, how to do the hairstyle, what makeup. And then it’s the how to smile. I recall some kids in grade 9 practicing their smiles in the bathroom mirror as they desperately applied yet one more coat of makeup on to an already made up face right before the “photo shoot”. Everybody wants to look good and look ‘right’ and be cool. I still remember a girl from my grade 9 year who tried to be all ‘sexy’ with the picture and it was the most ridiculous looking picture you have ever seen in your life.
This is the first week of school here and grade 9 is a nerve-wracking experience. Next week is Frosh Thursday (used to be Frosh Friday but something changed that this year). All the grade 9 kids will stand around wondering who is watching them, posing sometimes, being overly loud and obnoxious while secretly looking around to see who is noticing. None of them will want to participate in any of the Frosh day events. They’ll think the events are stupid and a waste of time and ‘lame’ or whatever the slang is now (I’m old remember, I don’t know what on earth the terminology is these days). They’ll be worried about looking stupid and not doing it right and in some cases they’ll be worried about messing up their hair styles (that was boy-child of all the kids – imagine that) or messing up their outfits or whatever.
This year the school is running a brand new program. It’s called the LINK crew and grade 12 kids are matched up with grade 9 kids. The grade 12 kids are paired up with a partner and they have their own group of grade 9′s. This is a combination credit course and volunteering hours for the kids who have been accepted into it. They have had some great training on how to be leaders and how to work together and the expectation is that when the semester is over, they will remain in their role of leader and role model. Great, great program! The LINK crew kids get to participate in the Frosh day events as group leaders with their group of grade 9′s they’ve been assigned to. They are STOKED! They’re making plans to do all the crazy, stupid games they wouldn’t do in grade 9. They just can’t wait.
Realistically, kids do still care about how they look and fitting in and who likes them by the time they hit grade 12 but if they moved through their developmental stages normally and developed a healthy self-esteem, it’s a different kind of caring. For most kids, it’s more similar to how an adult cares if the adults they work with like them or at least gets along with them. In grade 9, it’s their whole world and it matters more than anything else. While it drives adults crazy, it’s actually really normal and a part of their development.
And picture day? This particular grade 12′ish kid that lives with me went out and bought spray paint so that she could spray paint one of her tops the same color as the backdrop used for the photos. That way, when the photo is taken, she’s hoping that it comes out looking like a floating head!