Thursday, April 22, 2010

Middle School Kids!

I don't remember being a prepubescent person. I seem to remember always being old, at least that's what it feels like when I spend anytime with a group of the afore mentioned people. Young teenagers are really strange. Your body is going through serious hormonal changes similar to the Incredible Hulk. You remember him don't you? I watched that when I was young. The guy would get frustrated or angry and suddenly a large Lou Ferigno would come out from behind the tree/building/closet wearing the tattered clothing. Tattered just in the arms and legs, still covering all the important places so kids like me could watch. Television used to be like that. They paid attention to the audience and common decency wouldn't let them embarrass the parents out there in TV land.

Getting back to the teenagers, middle school is a tough time. I used to teach middle school and mentored a new, very young teacher one year. She was really struggling because she didn't seem to be able to connect with the kids. I had to observe her because the principal thought maybe I could help. After the observation, I sat down with her and explained a few things about middle school kids. The first being, you can not tease a middle schooler. I know that most middle schools are very similar to Lord of the Flies, but kids don't like or understand teasing by an adult. Secondly, they don't get sarcasm. They are trying but most of the time fall really, really short. They don't get it when adults hand out sarcasm either.

Now, if you now me personally, you'd know I was pretty much the queen of sarcasm. So much, that when my son was younger, I would say something and he'd say 'was that sarcasm?' He has me in his cell phone as a saying, 'Sarcasm, it's a way of life!'. My kids got it quite early, but most don't. Don't waste your time on middle schoolers, they won't get it, some adults don't get it either.

I used to tell my middle schoolers that I never wanted them to put down each other. If they felt the need to put someone down, they could get me. I didn't care, I was an adult and I wouldn't spend years of counseling trying to out do the damage they did to my psyche. They could tell me my hair was bad, I didn't care. They could tell me that my outfit was hideous, I wouldn't go home and cry. Put downs don't encourage middle schoolers to like you either.

After the meeting, she really took those two things to heart and I'm happy to say that by the end of the year they kids in her class loved her! She is still teaching and has received Teacher of the Year Awards numerous times. Having two middle school children now, I can say that I look at their friends with compassion. I may not remember ever being a middle schooler but I know this time won't last forever and with a lot guidance they will grow up to be great adults!

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