Monday, October 28, 2013

The Outsiders

Ahhhh, The Outsiders.
 My favorite time of year! 
I get to read this book for the one millionth time 
and introduce 130 young adults to it for the first time. 
It's kind of awesome. 
S.E. Hinton's classic changed my life and I am always grateful when it changes my students' lives. This book showed me real people with real problems and I remember, vividly, thinking about how Ponyboy or Johnny's fate would have changed if
a...or...b....or....c...would have happened...
I remember connecting with the theme that "it's rough all over" and applying it when I met people who were different than me. 
  I attached myself to this family and I loved them.
 I still do.  
{Of course the movie version didn't hinder my obsession. I mean, hello!
 These boys were dreamy!}
Before starting the novel this year, I gave the kids a set of questions to get them ready for some of the themes that emerge.
 One of the questions asked them to describe a time when they have felt like an outsider. 
I wasn't  ready for the answers I got.
They are raw, heartbreaking and an accurate snapshot of what our kids go through. 
They reminded me of why I do this job and 
why these are my kids and 
why I pour my heart and soul into them.
I wanted to share some of the answers I got to remind us that kids aren't dumb. 
They are fully aware of how the world works and at this age, being an outsider is reality. 
I think, as adults, {teachers or not}
 we need to remember to love on them whenever possible. 

I always feel like an outsider. People really don't like me nor do the act discreet about it. Rumors are passed around a lot about me and no one ever thinks about how I feel about the situation.
It's extremely hard to fit in and I was considering suicide at one point.

A time when I felt like an outsider is when all my best friends have boyfriends and I don't. Not that I need or want a boyfriend, but it's like my best friends are taken away from me. 

I have felt like an outsider a lot in my life, especially when I move or when my friends start hanging out with other people all the time.
It just makes me feel like I am unwanted and unnoticed.

A few years back I remember looking in the mirror and seeing a face that was plump and squinty eyed. Everyone else's face was skinny and they all looked good.  I made myself feel like an outsider and wouldn't accept the way my face looked.
{This was written by a boy, btw...girls aren't the only ones...}

I have felt like an outsider and I felt angry, sad and useless.

Often times when talking to a group of adults, no matter how intelligent you are, teens are seen as inferior and are expected to show respect by acting as if inferior therefore being pushed to the bottom, or outside a group of people.

I feel like an outsider every time I go to my bus stop in the morning. Everybody else is talking to their friends and I just stand there.

I feel like an outsider every day in math because I know no one in that class.

A time when I felt like an outsider was when I moved to my new school, neighborhood and church.

I usually do I guess. Everyone does. Like today, my entire group of friends got invited to watch the premier of Pretty Little Liars at who I thought was my friend’s house...
 I must not be good enough for her. I am always left out no matter how hard I try. I guess I am just everyone's last choice.

I feel like an outsider because my parents are divorced and sometimes I wonder why I got this life and why I can't have a normal life or be like other people.

I feel like an outsider at lunch. I think I sit with the popular group but I am crammed on one side of the table and no one really talks to me. So, I'm probably not accepted.

 I feel like an outsider when I tell people I live with my grandma and grandpa because everyone else lives with their parents.

I've felt like an outsider many times simply because I am shy.  No one talks to me because I don't talk to them. I try, but it's really hard.

I feel like an outsider 24/7.

Middle school is rough. 
Figuring out where one fits in and how to accept harsh realities is not easy. 
At all.
I hope my kids let The Outsiders teach them about places in their lives that they can "stay gold", that they watch a sunset and see purity, 
and that they experience the truth that they're not alone.
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  1. This is an amazing post. I am so thankful to be in their lives. We get to show them it's possible to stay gold. Love you friend!

  2. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. :)