Students learn about themselves, each other

Published 1:17 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Most 12-year-olds aren’t quite who they are going to be.

Sure, their parents know their personalities, and those around them may have a few choice words at times. But the mind of a preteen can be a conflicted dwelling.

Not quite teens and surely not children, these youngsters are changing almost daily, their teachers say.

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But personality isn’t something they lack.

Seventh-grade literature teacher Leigh Anderson makes personality a lesson that lasts all year long. The first four days in her Cathedral classroom have started the “about me” ball rolling.

Anderson’s students have completed personality worksheets and they’ll soon begin work on an “All About Me” scrapbook.

“They are just growing and changing at a rapid pace,” Anderson said. “This is about getting to know themselves and to know each other. They change an incredible amount at this age.”

But for today — and maybe only today — these students know how to describe themselves.

Creative, active, funny, shy and crazy, they’ll tell you.

Zoe Flattmann, 13, is creative. Hands down, flat out, that’s the word that best describes her and she doesn’t have to think about it to tell you.

“Whenever I scrapbook I’m creative,” she said. “My mom and my babysitter tell me I’m creative.”

Twelve-year-old Kyle Bradley doesn’t have to describe his personality, he shows it.

“Everybody says Kyle is active,” Zoe said.

Though Kyle was the last to come up with his descriptive word — active — his classmates unanimously agreed it was a good word.

Across the table, Austin Walker’s word was a good fit too, his friends said — crazy.

And what music does a crazy preteen like to listen to?

“Party like a rock star,” Austin said.

The students know how to describe themselves, but they’ll quickly admit that the descriptions are not their own. The words are labels that friends, family and teachers have given them.

“I don’t really think about my personality,” Austin said. “But sometimes I do think about other people’s personalities.”

And that in itself is why Anderson teaches personality the way she does.

“They are so conscious about what other people think of them,” she said. “I hope they will develop confidence and pride in themselves and their work.

“They’ll change emotionally, mentally and spiritually this year.”