True Alex Farris
A note from sixth-graders warms the heart | Alex Farris Photo Blog
Alex T Farris
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Every once in a while, I take a day off from my research job to do some substitute teaching. I signed up as a sub for my old elementary and high schools in August, not long after I finished at the IDS and before I rejoined the Center for Hip and Knee Surgery. Although I can't fill in for them as often as I used to, it's still a good way to remind myself of a few things: 1) how I was when I was that young, 2) how much I've grown since then, and 3) how much I haven't grown.

I'm halfway serious about the last point. It boggles me why middle-school and high-school kids give me high-fives in the hallway, yell "Hi, Mr. Farris!" and pay attention to me in class. The most convincing explanation I give myself is that they see my lingering adolescence and awkwardness and identify with it. I haven't grown up enough to forget what stressing over school and getting out of trouble are like (although I did more of the former and less of the latter!), so in some respects I'm still kinda on their level.

Still, I'm shocked at how well I can deal with them. And, oddly enough, how well they can deal with me. A student gave me a Boo-gram for Halloween, and I received this note from a group of sixth-graders on Friday:

I don't know what I'm doing right, but I must be doing it somehow. We'll see what happens with high school this Friday.

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I rented a 70-200 from for the Super Bowl before I got my own. I liked them; I think you will, too.