I’ve been a pretty good boy these last 13 days. My blogs, for the most part, have been upbeat, positive, and that’s how I’m trying to keep myself.


Yesterday, my love of middle school was deep and wide like the Mighty Mississippi, a 45 minute drive from our house. I love to visit the river towns and just watch the water flow. The boats, the barges, the wildlife, all it just warms me in a way I cannot explain.

No, today, my feelings about middle school is that of fingernails on a chalkboard. Every little foolish comment, every snarky look, every eye roll is like a banshee’s cry. A long, excruciatingly painful sound that makes your bones just quiver.

Three examples:

1. We are doing the Slice of Life challenge with my classes. My students are a bit (a lot) immature, as you’d expect sixth graders to be, so they spend tons of time looking for headers to insert in their KidBlogs. The problem: no sources. We’ve talked A LOT about the fact they cannot just go out on the Internet, grab a picture, and post it. Easily half the blogs have this problem. So, students were told today that as I go through their final totals, any blogs without a source for their headers will not count towards their total. Blogging all 31 days means a pizza lunch purchased by me, so this is a big deal for some of my students. I had students angry and in tears that I would “be that mean” to take down their blogs. No, I’m only doing this IF you are not documenting your sources.


2. As I looked through Facebook a few nights ago, and found a post from a teacher who did a social experiment with her students and cell phones. Every time her high school students during her class received a notification, she had that student get up and mark a tally. It was quite amazing how the paper looked at the end of the day. Our students are SO distracted by social media and their phones that I’m quickly changing my thoughts on phones in class. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to do with sixth graders, so each hour, I talked students through what they would do IF they’ve received a notification.


Wrong! My first two classes did as they were told. In my third class, I had 5 students who took full advantage of their phones, sending snap chats to each other.


Needless to say, they turned their phones into the office and got an earful from me. This is why we don’t allow phones in sixth grade.

3. As students were ticked off they had to actually do what they were told for their blogs, I had a student email me a pretty rude and disrespectful email dealing with that topic. I pulled him aside and give him an earful as well. I am a first born, there for I am a rule follower. I can remember muttering about things teachers did or said, but I cannot fathom how students get it into their heads they can write things like this to us. This is digital citizenship 101, and we are missing the boat somewhere.

So, in the words of Dory: “Good feelings gone!”

I’m going home tonight, running three hard miles on the treadmill, then making my wife and I pizza. She’s been stressed because for the last two days, she has not gotten the “two hour late” text from her school, getting into the car and leaving, only to hear it on the radio.

There are days where I do wish my connections were local, real life, and our technology addictions weren’t even invented yet.

I guess that means I’m getting old.