Friday, January 6, 2017

Middle School Students Rock

Great advice from the YMCA where I swim.
I know that I've done this to some wonderful teacher years ago. You know, when you ask what they teach, they reply middle school, and you say something like..."I'm sorry..." or the like. I couldn't imagine teaching that age group. Why, I'm not sure. My boys were young, so I had no frame of reference. Well, I guess I do have a frame - I was a middle school student myself. Maybe that's where we are all coming from?

Honestly, I didn't love middle school, but I also didn't hate it. Sure, I struggled with self confidence. I couldn't figure friendships out at times. I really had no idea where I fit in. But that only got worse in high school. In all honesty, if I could go back to a time that took away high school and dumped me straight from middle school into college, that would be awesome. At any rate, not sure where my previous negative attitude towards the middle school aged kids came from. 

Tonight I took Rosie to the vet. Seems my dog has bronchitis. Who knew? She'll be fine, she's curled up next to me as I type. It was a new vet and when she asked what I taught and I mentioned 7th grade, her reply was, "I'm sorry." 

At first I began to laugh it off, but then I realized that I didn't want to. Not that I was irritated at her at all, but it dawned on me that I could help change the narrative of what a middle school kid is like, at least to this person. So I told her how much I love these kids. How I chose to teach them. In describing a few stories of my students to her, she began to smile and nod.

I drove home from the vet with a light heart. Rosie would be fine, but it was more than that. I thought of my students Skyping today. How so many were nervous to do it, to talk in front of the computer, but did it for me because I asked. I thought of the sweet comments from them upon finding out I was getting a new puppy this spring. I thought of their kind Christmas gifts, all showing that they pay attention, that they truly do know me. And I thought of the sweet comments upon seeing them on Tuesday. The hugs, word of welcome, and comments about being back together after our two weeks off made my day. 

I love these kids more than I ever thought I would. They are so much better, have so much more potential, than people realize. Kids will truly make our world a better place. I see it every day and am beyond grateful to do what I do.