3 Challenging Lessons I Learned From a Middle School Suicide

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a whole semester in a sixth grade English Language Arts classroom. It was my first real teaching experience, and it taught me two very important things about myself: that I love to teach and that I love middle schoolers. 

It was one of the best learning experiences.  

But my biggest takeaway from that experience was not about teaching. It wasn’t about how to write lessons or how to manage a classroom of middle schoolers. 

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Jessica Hatmaker
Happy New (School) Year [Youth Ministry & Getting My Middle School Education Degree]

It’s August, and here in Maryland that means teachers and students are on their final few weeks of summer vacation before heading back to school. There’s just something about this time of the year that I LOVE. It’s a fresh start. For students and teachers, everything feels new. A new routine, a new schedule, new people, new classes, new teachers, and yes, new school supplies. I already ordered my new Paper Mate Flair pens on Amazon (if you know, you know). 

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The Home Stretch [Youth Ministry & Getting My Middle School Education Degree]

It’s almost May—which means I am nearing the end of the semester and about to enter my final year of college in August (CUE ALL THE PRAISE HANDS. AND ALL THE CONFETTI!)

I am currently studying Middle School Education with a concentration in English/Language Arts and Social Studies. In my program, I spent time this past semester in several middle school classrooms, teaching sample lessons, and observing teachers. In the Fall, I’ll be in one classroom two times a week, having the opportunity to teach. The following semester will be my last semester, where I’ll be full-time student teaching in the same classroom I will have spent Fall semester.

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Remembering My Why

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

I am feeling a little less “at home” this week, and have been reminded a bit more easily that a big piece of my heart is in Ethiopia. This time last year, I was zipping up my suitcase…

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Jessica Hatmaker
I'll Remember

We walked into the baby room on the second floor of the orphanage. Instantly, I was overwhelmed. The room was lined with cribs; there were so many cribs, and they were all occupied by a baby.

Some babies were sleeping.

Some babies were crying.

Some were laughing.

Some were feeding themselves.

Some were crawling across the floor.

Some were being held and bounced by the women who work at this orphanage.

Some were being held by our team members.

I didn’t know what to do or which kid to hold or play with. I had imagined this moment for years… but when I was living in the moment, I was paralyzed as I processed it all.

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Jessica HatmakerComment