Whenever we have to break up into groups at school I usually end up working with the same group of girls. Tal, Lily, Cecelia, and I do make a great team and we have fun, but being in the same group for every project doesn’t really lend itself to creating new experiences. Besides, I spend loads of time with them outside of school.
So today, when my AP Lit teacher told us to break up into groups and construct a timeline of the history of literature based on our memory and whatever other resources we could find in the classroom, I didn’t scurry across the room to my friends. I stayed put. And sure enough, Noah and Micah turned to me and said, “Hey, wanna be in a group with the two of us? I think that Miles and Ethan are going to be joining our group, too.” And I said, “Okay!” Then, I turned to see Don and Milky/Champ pull up desks, too.
And it was great. Miles pulled out his iPhone to look up lists of important texts, a few of us nabbed some tenth-grade textbooks, we stole our teacher’s Abram’s Literary Terms, and I was the scribe, because I said that I had decent handwriting. Of course, the moment that I started trying to write everything that was coming out of people’s mouths, it turned into a disaster. (Well, not really, but it wasn’t especially pretty.) There was loads of laughter, some football talk, a few arguments over whether or not Marx deserved a space on the timeline or if “Greek Dramas” was too vague, and lots of funny stories being passed around. And when we got to the Anglo-Saxons, I proudly told everyone that dear Pippa can recite large sections of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English and was the very best in her class.
When our teacher walked around, she couldn’t help but laugh at our group. It looked like we were adhering to gender stereotypes (though of course no sexism was really at play). I, the only girl out of a group of seven, was sitting in a desk that was both shorter and older and scribbling away as fast I could as the boys shouted out authors, works, dates, and movements. If I knew shorthand, the picture would be complete, and my hand would have been much happier.
And when the bell rang and the screeching of metal desks against the linoleum floor made me want to cover my ears, I though, I really need to do this more often.
So there you have it. Not only did Ella return to school after not going for over a week, but she also stepped out of her comfort zone and was the only girl in her group in AP Lit.