Usually when a kid says, "I'm not trying to be mean, but...," I usually stop them before they can finish, because I know it's going to be something mean. It's usually about another student too.
However, yesterday it was about me. I did cut this boy off. I told him, "Whenever you start a sentence like that, I know it's going to be mean and inappropriate....I think you should just go sit down and if it's still that important later you can tell me privately."
This kid just looked at me and said, "No Ms. T, it's good....I promise." I just gave the kid that teacher look of it-better-be-good-or-you're-in-trouble. He then said, "I haven't seen you in a while and I feel like you've lost more weight. I just wanted to tell you that I noticed."
My response to him, "Yes, I have lost more weight. Thank you for noticing." My internal response that I couldn't share with him was, "Hell yea! You ROCK! I'm so giving you extra credit. I have lost more weight and I've been busting my ass!"
Yesterday was apparently a big day for compliments. I'm not complaining either. All kinds of kids were making nice comments. I haven't seen my 8th graders lately. I had to spend so much time with my 7th graders that I nearly forgot about the 8th grade! I finally had a chance to get to them to get some work done. I'm glad they noticed the change. I even showed some of them my "before" picture.
They were all pretty impressed. They were asking what I've been doing and that it's obviously working. I told them all thanks for the encouragement and compliments. That's what I love about 8th graders. At the beginning of the year, they are still pretty immature. I would not have had this conversation with them back in the fall, but now it's the end of the year and they have shown how much they have grown and matured. They can handle conversations that are a little adult and mature. I only have a few more weeks with them and then they are off to high school!