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! 🙂
March 13, 2019 at 11:10 am
It seems you have adjusted to the change in students. The guest spot was a gentle reminder, huh?
March 13, 2019 at 11:54 am
Thank you for sharing! It’s so great you got the opportunity to guest teach. I’d love to be able to have this chance in my own school.
March 13, 2019 at 11:56 am
I was nervous at first, but kids are kids. I’ve taught them, which makes that easier as well. 🙂
March 13, 2019 at 2:50 pm
Getting kids to read, yes that is the important thing.
March 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm
Indeed it is.
March 13, 2019 at 5:06 pm
Singapore guest teacher keeps our compass straight.
March 13, 2019 at 5:08 pm
Singapore.? LOL Being a guest teacher keeps our compass straight.
March 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm
Singapore? I’d love to visit! However, this visit has given me a little more focus!
March 14, 2019 at 10:12 am
This made me giggle! 🙂
March 13, 2019 at 7:09 pm
You’re a good guy to pitch in!
All that other stuff that we do to make reading hard doesn’t make a hill of beans difference if they aren’t reading.
March 13, 2019 at 9:14 pm
Not a good guy, just a sucker who cannot say no! 😀
March 13, 2019 at 10:23 pm
I have always enjoyed getting to see my students again after they have moved up a grade or two! Right now I am teaching in a blended middle school program, with 6-8th graders more or less evenly mixed throughout my Humanities classes. 6th grade energy overflows and ricochets off the ennui and cynicism shields of the 8th graders. The 7th graders mill around in their own group. Usually dabbing. There’s always something exciting going on!
March 14, 2019 at 10:11 am
I LOVE your descriptions of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders! 7th graders dabbing? Classic! Thank you for the smile (and for reading my blog)! 🙂
March 14, 2019 at 6:48 am
I always pitch the idea of “switching” for a bit to the staff around April Fools day- I think it’d be hilarious for the kids to come in to a “guest teacher” and that teacher be all like “no no I’m you’re new teacher now!” carry on for a few, then shout the classic “APril Fools” line and go back to normalcy. No one ever wants to do it! #funsuckers anywho, I’m glad you got a chance to go back to your old stomping grounds. I must say, you painted middle school so perfectly, I am looking forward to my journey to teaching middle ELA. 🙂
March 15, 2019 at 8:23 am
Glad you were able to reconnect with your favorites, even if just for an hour. I like our term ‘guest teacher’. That’s how I feel when I substitute and am getting known across the campus, because it’s fun to reconnect with the kids. 🙂