How a teacher prepares his students to dive into the shark tank that is middle school.

As usual, Jatavia was the first to arrive exactly at 7:30 a.m. Normally a quiet student who's eager to complete the morning grammar and history work that’s displayed on the blackboard, this morning she didn’t go immediately to her desk. Instead, she gingerly shuffled my direction. I could tell that something wasn’t right so I inquired, “Is everything okay, Jatavia?”

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