You Wouldn't Believe What Happens at an 8th Grade Dance

I’ve been reorganizing some old documents, and I came across a copy of an AMAZING autobiographical narrative essay that I received from a 9th grade honors student during my student teacher days.

The student’s essay is ridiculously informal. She writes in a tone that you’d expect to find if she were writing a note to her friend, littered with exclamation points. It’s amateur, but not awful. The thing that makes this essay so memorable and problematic is one specific sentence.

Rather than just handing you the sentence (it’s worth it, I promise it), I’m burying it here. I think it makes it all the more shocking when you read it in context:

My 8th grade dance is definitely one of the moments I will remember in my whole life. It was just a great day! The boys and the girls were getting dates, everyone was buying a dress for that special day, oh it was just great! Finally, the Friday came, all the girls were all whining, “Uh, we only have 3 hours to get ready and I have to go and get my nails done, and my hair and…” well you know the rest…

As soon as we finished with our delicious dinner, one of my friends said, “hey lets dance”. They had some really crappy music (I hate rap!). I stayed quiet because I didn’t want to ruin a great night and accepted it. I was so happy to see the dance floor full of teenagers getting wild. Some of the teachers said, I had never seen any 8th grade dance as fun as this one. Even the teachers went wild!

When we see a screen scroll down and music starts playing again, but it wasn’t jut music, our favorite 8th grade teachers had made a movie about us all the three years we were at [school name]! All the teachers started cheering and applauding like if there was no tomorrow. Then once I saw pictures of me and my friends a tear came running down my cheek! I started to cry because most of the people in that picture were moving and I wouldn’t see them in [town name] or find them in the street like always! In one of those pictures there is one with me and a very close friend I know since the beginning (known as: my twin, stoop1d, or Mrs. Michael Jackson), comes up to me and hugs me really tight and cries with me. We couldn’t stop so we went to the restroom to cry there. We were crying like if someone really important to our family had died. Our tears were practically having a race down our cheeks. Once we calmed down and were able to go in there without any evidence, we walked in and felt like if everyone in that room was either raped or hit really hard!

Did you catch that last sentence? Really? I don’t want to discourage figurative language, but let’s be reasonable here. I don’t exactly like the mental image of a room full of eighth grade rape victims. Moreover, to put rape and being hit really hard at the same emotional level… I don’t even know. It sounds like someone’s never been raped before – which is a good thing!

The essay in its entirety is super long, so I abbreviated it above, but if you’d like to see it in full, as well as some of my comments on this first draft, click on the documents below.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Dear lord.
That was simultaneously amazingly amusing and incredibly painful to read. Hopefully after a year with you as her teacher she's gotten... better?