When my sixth grade students crossed the threshold into the classroom on the first day of class… what was on their mind was to secure a desk near friends. Some knew what was coming. Most didn’t. “Good morning, and welcome to Sixth Grade. Boys and girls, just now, crossing over the threshold into the classroom, you stepped out of democracy into a dictatorship.” Some chuckled, and others gave each other worried looks. I gave them a moment to digest what I’d said. No other time in our year together would this lesson velcro as tight as on the first day of class.