Middle School, How I Love Thee!

In September, I started working at a new, technologically focused middle school. I still co-teach US History and English, but now my students are younger.It’s only been about 1.5 months, but already, I’m in love with my new school. Mostly, I’m in love with teaching 8th grade. Wow. What a fun age! They look like teenagers (well, some of them do), but they are tiny like elementary school kids. Their emotions constantly change. One moment they are excited and happy, and the next moment they are depressed and inconsolable, and the moment after that they are angrily screaming at an ex-friend (from ten minutes before).

Here is what I’ve learned about them so far:

  1. They love structure. Love love love.
  2. At the same time, they generally have no idea how to create their own structure, so they must be constantly reminded to walk in, sit down, and take out their notebook.
  3. A sense of urgency is easy to create. A timer does wonders.
  4. They like to pretend they want to be treated as fully capable young men and women, but really they find that freedom frightening. They really want you to take ownership of your authority and tell them what to do without hesitation.
  5. They are so playful!
  6. They still really care if you call or email home. Even though many of them barely talk to their parents, they desperately want for their parents to love and admire all that they do.
  7. If you frequently contact parents, the parents will be grateful. 8th grade is such a hard time to understand your child. I’ve had some parents tell me that their 8th graders are like strangers living in the house.
  8. Oh my god, the socializing never ends.

I’m adoring every moment of it!


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