I have loved teaching 6th grade since day 2? I say day 2 because day 1 I was terrified. I couldn't even remember what it was like to be a 6th grader. But, by day 2 I realized that they were fun, non-judgemental, and genuinely interested in learning - for the most part (there are always exceptions). However, I have begun to take that for granted. I have started to let my remarks stream out of my mouth - good naturedly - but, those thoughts and remarks have hurt some of my students.
After teaching 6th graders for almost 6 years now I still do not fully understand that their good nature and their capacity for positive vs. negative interpretation is still forming right along with their self images and I become a big part of that.
It is not that I want to walk on egg shells all the time, but I do need to understand that words can hurt, especially from people who are out only in positions of authority, but the people you really want to love and respect. It is not only my responsibility to make learning fun and interesting, but to make it feel safe and students feel respected.
I am no saint and I am not perfect. I am still learning, just like the rest of the teachers out there. This is just another lesson of humility to get under my belt, maybe one of the most important.