I’m writing this very quickly because this just needs to be documented! 😂
We’ve had two class periods, then my students got to the exploratory classes (they are in art right now), so my classroom is empty. I usually turn on a little music and try to be productive.
Today, I had two 8th grade basketball players peek into my room, then whisper, “We can do our work in here!”.
They are coming from social studies (across the hall) and need a place to do their reading and questions.
So, here they are, reading away, mispronouncing words (“Are you sure it’s not ‘determed’ (the word was determined) ??”) and giggling. While they are working, they are just being goofballs as well.
This is what I love about teaching middle school. Students aren’t to that point that where they are “too cool” to act like kids. They are talking about Jefferson, but talking in this hybrid English/old person accent because of the words “custom duty”.
But more than that, our middle school is a place where an overwhelming majority of our students can go into a room and act like kids. Yes, we hold them to a certain level of behavior, but yet, sometimes, they need to be this way. They need to be silly. Our students have those teachers/adults in the building they connect with during the day. We have a list of students who’ve said they connect with very few people here, which is something we are working on. The list of students who say they’ve connected with many adults in our building dwarfs those who haven’t. Again, we’d love to say every single student has made that connection, but that’s going to be highly unlikely. We talk about being part of our “NFVMS Family”, looking to instill that sense of belonging. Some of our students come from homes where families don’t have that sense. We try to help them to see that families DO take care of each other, they DO watch out for each other, and that their NFVMS family is there for them when they’ve been successful and they’ll be there when they screw up.
What happens when those connections are made, when that sense of family is created, students trust those adults to do the right thing, to make those boundaries that students need (and crave), but to allow them the freedom to grow and explore as individuals. While I’ve never had these two girls in class (the joys of being able to be placed in multiple grade levels, I don’t get to teach everyone), they’ve learned from being on my basketball team that there are rules, but that I’m pretty laid back. Thus, the English accent.
As they left for lunch, the one girl said goodbye in her really weird accent, and I replied “Good Day” in my own British accent.
They about lost it.
Teaching middle school also means, every once and a while, you can ACT like the students as well.
And they love it.