Faculty Voice: Yoshi Makishima

yoshi-makishima-20170921_138As we looked out the window, watching huge snowflakes fall on the second day of April, it was easy to think we were still stuck in winter. However, we are in the middle of a season of change. When I look at our students, I can’t help but notice and reflect on the transformations they have undergone, and the ones that await them before the end of this year.

 

During my first year teaching at Milton, I have had the opportunity to follow my first group of students through the year. Although I experienced this journey myself as a Milton student, and a second time as the sibling of a Milton student, returning now, it has been incredible to see the leaps our middle schoolers make as they move further from grade school and toward young adulthood. Morning assembly, when we gather all the students to share a few moments together at the beginning and the close of the week, is one of the times the changes have been most apparent. It occurred to me, watching students squeeze together in Room 101, that there seemed to be much more space at the beginning of the year. They have already started to outgrow the space that just a few months ago had been such a cozy fit.

Since our return from break, there has been a definite feeling that we are picking up speed. Our eighth graders are eager for their trip to D.C.—a wonderful opportunity to bring them together as a class, to learn and bond, and to start to discover their identities outside the hub of Middle School. Seventh graders are preparing to step up as our new leaders (and this particular class has proven themselves more than up to the task in the last few weeks). Our sixth graders are no longer the new kids; new routines and standards have become familiar to them, and next fall they will be ready to welcome all our newcomers to the Middle School. And each family has doubtlessly found itself in a different place now than it was back in September.

On Monday morning, we had a full inch of snow. By Monday afternoon, the sun had appeared and there was no sign there had been so much as a flurry. From day to day, from minute to minute, we are surrounded by so much change, and it’s important that we don’t let the momentum carry us along without stopping to see everything that’s happening around us. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.” This spring will be full of bittersweet chances to take stock of how much has changed over the course of the year. When those chances arrive, take a breath and give those moments the time and appreciation they need.