I just lent my copy of I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick to a student. Not one of my own students in any of my classes, but a student I have bonded with over books and a shared love of twisty, dark books and humor.
I first met this student because they have lunch daily with the teacher across the hall, and I saw them reading a book that had been haunting me everywhere -- The Whisper Man by Alex North. Does that happen to you? Where you see the same cover over and over, and you don't buy it but you just keep running into it until you can't NOT buy it? Well, this was one of those books.
Anyway, they had a zillion skinny flags in it, and when I asked about them they showed me the color coded key at the front of the book with what each passage flag meant. I think that was when I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. I got the book, read it (SO deliciously creepy with some great twists; SO not appropriate for your typical 8th grader), and we had fun book discussions about it.
Then last Friday, after a really crap day Thursday, I ran into them at the front entryway before school and we started talking about book lists and bookshelves and their love for Victorian murder mysteries, and how they barely read before this year but now are obsessed and even writing their own Victorian murder book.
Let me tell you, moments of connection like this feed my soul in a difficult year. This is a student who isn't typical in any way, and I tend to gravitate towards kids who are probably kind of like me in middle school, maybe in part because I wish I had consistently had someone like that at school myself.
Now I get to be that fellow weirdo, trade book recommendations, talk all things books...and it's authentically enjoyable. Connections like these remind me why I love teaching middle school.
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