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Last month I spent two days at a neighboring elementary school to meet a requirement of my internship. The first day I shadowed the principal. I arrived just in time for lunch duty. I donned my apron, washed my hands and took my place in the cafeteria. In short order I fell in love with several darling second graders. Their energy was frenetic and contagious. They needed help opening tough lids, asked to go get catsup or a napkin, and even wanted to touch my shiny blue shoes. Later that afternoon I wrote a letter to parents notifying them in writing of their kid’s suspension. Who knew elementary kids got suspended?

The following week I was principal-for-the-day at the same school while their principal was at a conference. That day at the elementary school contrasted sharply with my usual gig at the high school where my morning had started with kids, drugs and suspensions. At the elementary school I had a couple of fires to put out, drama to confront and one 3-part mystery to solve. I took a complaint from one girl who was being teased in PE class. She had a special arrangement with the teacher to run less than the other kids due to health reasons. The boy called her a “cheater” because she finished the run first. Mind you, there was no prize or trophy for coming in first. But, given our competitive nature, he felt wronged and she had her feelings hurt.

The mystery surrounded $20, a phantom hand-held device and a waterproof flashlight. I interviewed the three kids in question and straightened out the confusion. I taught one kid that he needed to see the goods before forking over his cash. Life lessons 101.

I love high schoolers and their host of problems and drama. I love to watch them grow from insecure 14-year-old kids to sure 18-year-old young adults. While I had a blast at the elementary school, I’m not sure I’m willing to trade the big kids for the younger ones…yet.

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