Everybody is aware of the bad rap that middle-grade students get. Young adolescents inspire all kinds of jokes.
Rita Rudner must have had young adolescents in mind when she said, "My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives."
And I think it was Steven Wright who said "Hire young teenswhile they know everything!"
Middle school youngsters earn some of the barbs aimed at them -- because sometimes they act more like second graders than seventh graders! But students in the middle grades are in that strange netherworld between childhood and adolescence. Their bodies are changing. So are their minds, their thought processes. It's a time "when many battles for the self are won and lost," says Mary Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) of students in these in-between years
Middle school teachers are a rare breed. They're my heroes! To be a middle school teacher -- something this former third-grade teacher could never imagine being -- requires great patience and creativity, great dedication, and, above all, a great sense of humor.
So why do middle school teachers love what they do? Why wouldn't they trade places with teachers in the elementary or high school grades? That's what I wanted to know. And that's why I enlisted the help of Education World's "Principal Files" principals and the teachers on the Middle-L listserv I asked them
What's so great about middle school kids?
Through their responses shines that special dedication -- along with flashes of the required sense of humor!
Here, in honor of the Month of the Young Adolescent -- and with big-time thanks to the middle school educators who contributed* -- are
And the fiftieth thing teachers think is great about teaching middle schoolers
*A big THANK YOU to the teachers who contributed to this list -- those at Lester Middle School (Okinawa, Japan); Christian County Middle School (Hopkinsville, KY); Whitney Institute Middle School (Bermuda); Fairgrounds Jr. High School (Nashua, NH); and Washington Middle School (Maryville, MO).
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education WorldÂ® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright Â© 1998 Education World