08 January 2009

My Heart Goes Out To Middle School Teachers Everywhere

Give me 90 15-17-year-olds over 40 12-year-olds any old day.


I loved teaching high school.

My students, with very few exceptions, were excellent and I'm not just saying that because some of them might be reading this. What I enjoyed about "my" kids was that they were (and still are) incredibly smart, creative individuals. They could (and did) discuss college-level material, asking and answering insightful questions.

But, 7th graders are different animals altogether.

Granted, I'm only with this group of kids for a week. And they are good kids (for the most part), just more prone to fidgeting, straying off track, and just having poor(er) impulse control. I know this is because they are twelve and their brains are still developing.

I KNOW this.

But I am more tired and cranky after a day with this group of kids than I ever was after a full day with high school juniors and seniors, even when I was eight months pregnant.

And one other thing. In all the years I taught high school I never handed out a detention. Never. Not one. Did I give a zero to a senior who cheated on an exam right in front of me? Oh, yeah. Did I turn in a kid who plagiarized an entire research paper (he copied the whole thing from the introduction in the textbook)? You bet your sweet bippy I did. But I never had to give a detention.

I gave one out yesterday and the kid I gave it to practically asked for it by throwing a paper airplane not ten seconds after I told him that if he launched that airplane, he'd get a detention.

Today was a long day, especially the afternoon (I think all of my homeroom class had too much pop and/or sugar for lunch; they were nine kinds of crazy - worse than any preschool class). But I didn't have to hand out detentions, though one class was cruising that way until I started writing down names.

It's not that I don't like these kids. I do. Like I said, they are good kids.

But they are twelve.

TWELVE, I tell you.

Maddeningly so.


Mommy, Queen Of Everything said...

I guess they're right on the cusp of still a kid vs. young adult and the kid side is still stronger.

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

Harley Quinn said...

You are a brave, brave woman. I feel for you, I really do.

The Fearless Freak said...

I had a high school teacher tell me once that she felt that Jr high kids were devil's spawn. And I don't disagree.

They are like over grown toddlers, wavering between independence and need for attachment with wild crazy hormones thrown in and you get something akin to mixing bleach and ammonia. Nothing fun to be around at all.

Good luck with the rest of the week :)