I didn't set out to be a teacher and I certainly didn't think I was going to be spending all day every day with 100+ pre-teens. But here I am and I can't imagine being anywhere else.
Middle schoolers are weird and awkward and so much fun! They're figuring it all out and experiencing some serious growing pains in the process. They're impulsive and emotional and I absolutely adore how stuck in the "middle" they are. They desperately want to be big, mature high schoolers... but then they stop by your room on the way to lunch to ask how long you think they should heat up their leftover spaghetti :)
My very first year I was 21 years old and monitoring the lunch room full of 12, 13 and 14 year olds. I was sipping my tea and walking the aisles when all of a sudden I watched a 7th grade boy stand up, look around and then CHUNK an orange across the lunch room. It hit a girl square in the eye and chaos ensued. I pulled said 7th grader out into the hall and asked him WHY he threw the orange. His response.... "I don't know". I prompted a bit, "were you trying to be funny? Impress a girl? Was it a dare? Did someone pay you to do it???" and again, he responded with, "I don't know". It was in that moment that I realized that middle schoolers are a unique and impulsive bunch and that I was in for a fun ride.
I'm currently in my 11th year of teaching middle school and you'd think by now I would have heard it all. But alas... I find myself amazed and in awe of the things coming out of students mouths on the daily :)
Middle Schoolers will say (pretty much) whatever is on their mind, typically it's in the middle of a lesson you're teaching, and very rarely do they think through what they're saying.
"Mrs. McAnally, if your baby is growing in your stomach isn't it being eaten by your stomach acid???"
Student: "Mrs. McAnally, you wouldn't get it... you're like middle aged" (insert me gasping here)
Me: "I assure you I am NOT middle aged."
Student: "Suuuuuuuure you're not (he said sarcastically)
When I was wearing a turquoise maxi dress and had my hair down and wavy... "Mrs. McAnally, you look JUST like a mermaid!!!"
Student: "I mean... math isn't going to be that important for me to know. I'm JUST going to be a teacher."
Student: "My cheek is bleeding"
Student: "What should I do about it?
Me: "What do you think you should do about it?"
Student: "I'll sit down now"
I had a student who asked me daily if he could remove his shoes. Every day I said no. Every day he asked. #maybethistimeillsayyes
Me after doing a FULL class period of test review: "Any questions???"
Student: "Do you think I'd look better as a brunette???"
Me: stunned silence
Me: "And f(x) = x is also called the parent, or mother function"
Students: Uncontrollable laughter
Student: "Mrs. McAnally!!! You look JUST like The Hulk today!!!"
Me: "I'm sorry... what?!?!?!"
Student: "The Hulk! You know... the green and the purple???"
Me: "Um... I do NOT look like the Hulk"
Fast forward a few hours. I arrive home and...
I looked just like the hulk.
I feel like teaching Middle School helps keep my "young" (I mean, I know what dabbing is and could quote several popular vine videos for you at any given moment), but they also make me feel old on the daily...
Me: "What do you mean you don't know who Chris Farley is???.... the SNL skit? Black Sheep? Tommy Boy???
Middle Schooler: I think I've heard my dad talk about him.
While working on a word problem involving developing film from a camera...
Student: "I don't understand this word problem"
Me: "Well, let's look at it and figure out what it's asking"
Student: "No... I don't understand what film is"
Me: "Am I being Punk'd???"
Student: "What's Punk'd???"
Me: "You know... that show with Ashton Kutcher where they played jokes on people???"
Student: "Is he that guy from Shark Tank?"
Let's not even get started on how I can blow their minds talking about how I had to use REAL BOOKS to do research papers in high school, how we passed notes between classes because there wasn't any texting and how there was no such thing as selfies when I was their age. ;)
Middle Schoolers are also some of the most thoughtful and genuine people I've ever met. If I'm absent because me or one of my kids are sick I can guarantee you I'll have emails from students checking on them. If I seem "off" they're the first to notice and ask what's wrong (sometimes it's not the most tactful way of asking... "you look TIRED!!! are you okay???" hahaha) and they notice things like my favorite snacks and will think to bring me some! Sweetest!!! I've had students save their OWN money to buy me a gift card for Christmas to a store that they know I like and have had some of the kindest words spoken to me through notes written by students.
When someone asks me what grade I teach and I respond with Middle School I typically get a response like, "Oh my! There's a special place in Heaven for middle school teachers!" or "I don't know HOW you spend all day with middle school kids!" ;) The truth is, that's exactly how I feel about elementary and high school teachers! I think it just goes to show that there's a niche for everyone. So, teachers... have you found your niche? And what's a funny thing that a student has said to you or that you've found yourself saying to them?
Happy (teacher) Tuesday!
Oh! And if you have a minute, check out THIS article! It's soooo funny and soooo true!!!