Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celebrate middle schoolers

Yesterday was our 8th graders' last day of school. Next week they're off to Washington, D.C. and then they graduate on May 26th. The day ended with an 8th grade vs. teachers volleyball game, and boy did they go all out with their outfit selections:
8th grade vs teachers volleyball 2015
I mean, who ever thought a gecko could play volleyball so well? :) (Incidentally, the teachers won.)

It has been such a wonderful school year. I am so happy that I decided to come back to the classroom and to spend my days with middle schoolers. I know there are many people out there who meet me and tell me what a saint I am for teaching middle school, but I absolutely love it. Yes they are egocentric. Yes they can have attitudes. Yes they can have an extreme sense of what they think is fair and unfair.

But they're also funny, thoughtful, and creative. They ask difficult questions and have the capacity to teach adults how to be present.

So those of you who meet any teacher for the first time ask and ask what grade they teach, rather than telling middle school teachers what saints they are, I challenge you to instead genuinely ask us what they like best about teaching that age group. Because for me, I am in my element when I'm teaching teenagers. Not so much with five year-olds. Oh, who am I kidding? I don't have a clue what to do with five year-olds, and quite frankly, I don't want to find out. But at the same time, I also have mad respect for those who do. It just seems like middle school teachers bear the brunt of the, "Bless you for teaching that age group. I don't know how you do it" spiel from the general public.

We do it because we choose to do it. It's really not that big of a deal to us. Most of the time it's not the kids that make us the most crazy.  But that's a discussion for another blog post. Today I am celebrating my students.

So thank you 8th graders for being you. You have pushed me to think harder and answer some tough questions. We've had some productive, difficult discussions, but in the end, I hope I have taught you to never stop asking the hard questions and to always be curious. Good luck in high school -- I know you'll do great things!

Celebrate This Week was established by Ruth Ayres


  1. What can I say but "agreed"! I wouldn't choose any other age, love the middle school kids. They are more capable than many give them credit for. Your post makes me happy, Beth. Hope the trip to D.C. is marvelous!

  2. What a wonderful celebration! As a third grader teacher, I have certain received my fair share of "how do you work with kids so young?" from our middle school staff, but we give it both ways. Congrats to you and your students for a year well done!

  3. Last day already?!?! Wow!! I've taught every grade from 3rd to 7th and I LOVE teaching middle schoolers!!! They are the best!!! Congrats to your students for a great year and I, too, am so glad you are back! I hear the joy in your words!!!

  4. :-) Not the kids who make us the most crazy . . . Oh yes, I know exactly where that is going! I teach younger students and love it but I parent two 12 1/2 year olds and it is quite a delightful age - lots of ego, lots of passion, lots of everything!

  5. I am happy to stick with my elementary school students, but I'm glad that there are teachers who love students at all of the ages. I'm so glad that there were teachers who nurtured my teens and loved them through middle school. Thanks for the reminder that middle school students are still lovable and their are teachers out there appreciating those students.

  6. I teach middle school, too - the best place.