Just to be clear, I love teaching middle school. I love the crappy attitudes that really say “I need you”, I love the smell of body odor and Axe in the morning, I love the quirky “I need to find myself so I’m coloring my hair orange” things they do, but most of all, I just love they are young adult, and for the most part, trying to do the best they can.
The last three years, I’ve taught 8th grade reading and language arts in our middle school, and while I didn’t do the best job, I got kids reading. I’ve had several students come to me after they moved on to tell me, “You were the one who got me to love reading.”
I didn’t teach as much of the “basics” as I should have, but by 8th grade, they need to be reading, period. All that other stuff that we do to make reading hard doesn’t make a hill of beans difference if they aren’t reading. And they read. And they wrote. And they read. And they wrote. It’s what my class was all about.
However, now, I’m a relationship guy and teaching sixth grade social studies. I’ve accepted this as where I am, and I’m good with this. But I miss teaching 8th graders, which is why I was asked to pitch in for a few minutes today. Our 8th graders have to fill out a four year plan, and our guidance counselor was gone, so she asked me to fill in for her. Our 8th grade English teacher was with me too, so we tag teamed it.
As they came in, many were “what the heck are you doing here”, and when I said who I was, the reply: “Sweet!” I taught this class briefly last year as I taught a life skills class too. They are an active bunch, but pretty good kids all the way around. I was happy to be see them, interact with them, and just be kids who weren’t as high energy. I love my sixth graders dearly, but this group wears me out! 🙂
Being a guest teacher, even for an hour, made my day. It was fun to see how kids have grown, how they’ve changed, and be able to walk out when they get screwy!
And now, it’s back to sixth grade, my new home! 🙂