One thing about dealing with seventh graders is that you have a wide - and I mean wide - variety in maturity levels when dealing with these kids. You have kids who are interested in more adult things such as girls/boys, cars, sports, and the like, and then you have kids who are more interested in more child-oriented things like action figures, dolls, Hannah Montana, and the like.
On an aside, it always cracks me up how a girl will start the year proudly displaying her Hannah Montana school supplies (backpack, binder, notepads, etc.) and by the end of the year totally deny ever having an interested in anything so lame!
I'm still hanging out being useful in guidance and was there when the Guidance Goddess got a phone call from me from Ms. Language. Apparently one of our kids was having a melt-down in class and she wanted me to remove him and calm him down.
I grabbed my box of tissues and went to her room.
The child in question is Animation Boy. I love Animation Boy. Absolutely love this kid. He is, unfortunately, in my Fourth Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself (Fifth period has, amazing, relinquished this title this semester, most likely after having three of the biggest trouble makers withdraw from school and move out of the area). Animation Boy has Asperger's and has trouble staying on task and definitely has trouble dealing with kids his own age. He's great with adults but the kids are too snotty to realize how funny and clever he is - he loves to create computer animations and if they could see some of his stuff he'd probably be a lot more accepted. But kids are jerks to those who are different, and so Animation Boy tends to be a bit of a loaner.
When I got to Ms. Language's class, Animation Boy had his head on his desk, his eyes were puffy with tears and you could tell he was mad. I had him grab his things and we went to sit in the guidance lobby so we could talk and I could get to the bottom of whatever was bothering him. (I was lucky in that there were actually seats in guidance as it's been a wild weak with fights and all sorts of shenanigans, mainly brought on by a warm weather streak.)
Apparently Animation Boy was having a meltdown over an issue with a Bukugan toy.
Don't feel bad, I didn't know what a Bukugan toy was either. However, Animation Boy spent about twenty minutes with me explaining the toys, showing me the toy in question, and basically educating me on the whole Bukugan culture at The School. They are, as best I can tell, cute little balls that open up and change shape when you put them on metal. They have different energy levels and ratings and are very collectible among a certain group of my students.
I had a great time listening to this kid go on and on about something that was obviously important to him, and I did get to the root of the problem which had to do with a trade, a sale of toys, a stolen toy, a found toy, and a kid who really wanted this rare model of the toy. Animation Boy did do the right thing, realizing that the kid who bought the toy actually paid money for it, and even if Animation Boy found it, he probably shouldn't keep it, so he gave it to me to give back to the owner of the toy.
And I only went through two tissues!