My junior years in Elementary School were all the same. A blur of tears, being picked last for teams, being called names all day, every day at school. Being frustrated at the homework and not understanding it a lot of the time.
“Mum why do they do that? I was at home again after school. It was after dinner and I was at the table doing homework. I was getting frustrated again with the math questions. My mind though was on other things at the same time.
“Why do who do what Aime?” Mum was washing the big pan and pots from supper they did not fit in our dishwasher as easy.
“The kids at school. Why do they tease me?” A tear landed on my paper. I looked up at my Mum, gripping my pencil.
“The kids tease you because you learn differently to them. Everyone learns different. And it’s okay to be different.”
“I wish I didn’t learn differently.” As another tear fell on my page.
Maybe Grade seven would be different I thought. I found out that I would be going into a grade 7/8 split class. Maybe Karen would be in the class.
I saw Karen the day we got our report cards and were told what teacher we had.
“Karen! Hi! So, glad school’s done again. Who do you have next year?”
“Hi Aime, I have Mr. N. The full grade 8 class.”
Hanging my head, I replied “Oh, I have Mrs. L”.
“You’ll like her, she’s nice.” Karen tried to reassure me.
We had fun that summer going to camp again for Girl Guides and hanging out. Karen came over lots to visit as we had a pool. I swam in it every chance I got.
I didn’t want summer to end. Yet the sun was changing, and it was starting to get cooler out, so I knew fall was coming, and that meant school.
Grade seven is different. We had to change classrooms for some of our classes, and we had a bunch of different teachers. I was getting overwhelmed….so many emotions and thoughts ran through my head. Like how do the lockers work? And do I carry all the stuff I need for the day? Or just for what class I have? Who will I have as a locker partner?
Shuffling my feet into the hallway on the first day I was unsure where to go. Luckily Mrs. L was waving in the grade 7’s that she was to teach.
“Hi everyone, welcome to grade 7. This is going to be a different day for you. You’ll find out who your locker partner is and where that locker is.” Mrs. L smiled at us all. I found out I had a friend as my partner. She was though in the full grade 7 class.
The Grade 8’s were coming in too. I looked at who was in this group. Oh, dear I thought. Some of the girls I knew, and they teased Karen in the year before.
I was sitting on the side of the room where the grade 7’s sit, my half of a big desk was right up at Mrs. L’s desk. These desks were different. I had to share the space with someone else. The desk didn’t have a back end it was open. I did my best to keep my things neat and tidy. There was a divider in the middle to keep our things separate inside our shared desk. And to work quietly because I was sitting right at Mrs. L’s desk too.
Why am I sitting here? I thought? Only the bad kids sit next to the teacher’s desk. Or at least that is what happened when I was in the junior years. The bad kids sat beside the teacher.
“Why are you sitting at the teacher’s side Aime? What did you do already to be in trouble?” One of the boys laughed. The girls in grade 8 spun around to see what the boy was laughing at.
One class that I did like was music. I was excited to be in that class. Mrs. B was our teacher. She was short and had black hair. Very different to Mrs. L who was a bit taller and had big bushy red hair, and had a huge laugh and smile.
“Today the grade 7’s will choose their instruments. Grade 8’s you get the same one as last year.”
I was so happy, I loved music. I chose the clarinet. Black and silver. It sounded so wonderful when Mrs. B played it. That’s why I chose it.
One afternoon in music class the grade 7’s were using the full instrument. For the first few weeks we only got to play the mouth piece. Squeaking the clarinets sounded like ducks, the trumpets sounded like kazoo’s, and the flutes sounded like birds.
“Okay grade 7’s put the instrument together.” Mrs. B smiled at us all. Finally! A few of us were happy to get to do this. The grade 8‘s laughed as some were struggling to do so. I got my clarinet together quite fast.
“Now blow through.” Some of us could catch on quick. Some not so much. I blew a loud and strong note. “Aime, great!” Mrs. B smiled at me.
“It’s all about the way our mouths are on the mouth piece. How you control your breath and the force out of the air. Aime come here. Bring just your mouth piece.”
Jumping up to the front of the class with my mouth piece I was nervous, yet excited. Mrs. B picked up her clarinet. She had a better one than us in school. It was made of wood. Mrs. B pushed my mouth piece into her clarinet and spun it around.
“Aime all I want you to do is blow. Take a big breath and continue to do so when you need too. Watch class, remember it’s all about the mouth piece work we do.”
I started to blow and Mrs. B played and played her clarinet with me putting air through it. It sounded beautiful. My eyes were wide with surprise, big and bright. Mrs. B nodded her head and smiled at me.
The kids laughed called out “Goodie two-shoes. Teacher’s pet!”
“Keep breathing and blowing. You’re doing great.”
Music was a fun class; however, gym was not…