It was lunch time and Mac, having just finished eating, was heading out to the playground.
“Go away,” they said, as Miss M and Mac approached the group of boys.
For a moment, Miss M was worried – these were Mac’s fellow Grade 6 boys.
“Buuuttt,” she started, about to say ‘It’s Mac’ when they quickly clarified.
“Oh, not Mac, he’s with us, we just don’t need you.”
“Fine,” she said, feigning indignation, but secretly thrilled at their autonomy and independence. Clearly no adults and certainly no ‘female adults’ are needed in their midst.
I was relieved to hear it. Mac was a little upset on the second day of sixth grade, thinking he wouldn’t have any friends in his class and what that might mean. This year is a big change for him – it’s his first new teacher in three years.
He knew he wasn’t going to get in the same class as one of his best mates. They completely outwit/outplay/outmaneuver the teachers and don’t do any work at all… all the while looking “very busy”. He was ok with that, he said. But for some reason he thought all the other kids were allowed to pick a friend and he wasn’t. I don’t think that was the case, and after actually getting his class placement, he realised he has some great kids in there and he is much happier.
It’s hard to balance the “sticking with who you know” approach in class friendships or embracing the “new kids mean new opportunities”. Every year I have a moment of a panic – worried that he might not maintain those relationships he formed in the prior year… so far, that has been misdirected worry.
It was great to hear Miss M report back that, on the first morning after being placed in their classes, lots of the kids said: “Right, when do we get to learn how to work with Mac.” Learning about Mac’s technology, working with him is still a revered role. If he stuck with the same kids all the time, those new kids would miss out and so would he… you just never know what allies are around the corner.
So the first week of Grade Six has been OK, here’s to a wonderful final year of primary school.