Another middle school today. This one all around much better than the last one. I think I’m sort of getting the hang of just NOT being the students’ friend. I like it, in a way. It gives me an outlet. No worrying about making a great first impression, or being charming or funny. Just no-nonsense, sit down, shut up, take out your lang arts book. Love it.
I always notice the one smart, bookish, no-fuss kid. The one who rarely says anything (I’m not talking about the raising-her-hand, I’ve-got-all-the-answers kid). Just the regular kid who is going through middle school.
Last week there was a kid who finished his worksheet, turned it in, put his pencil away, and then pulled out a book and started reading – all silently. Love that kid. Loved him even more when I saw he was reading Stephen King’s Misery. I kind of wanted to say something to him (like, “Have you read it before? Do you love it??”) but he was still near the beginning, and I didn’t want to be a total creeper.
There was a kid this morning who also silently started the worksheet. When I said they could work QUIETLY in pairs, he raised his hand and said, “Do we have to work in pairs?” No, no you don’t – I hated group work also. Much easier to just do it and get it done.
In my sixth/seventh period today there was a kid who looked annoyed/fed up with his classmates’ antics (and there were a lot of them). At one point he said, “Can I talk to you?” and I said, “Yeah, what’s up?” and he said, “Can you make a list of all the names of the kids who were being good?” I guess he could foresee the mediocre report I gave the teacher about that class. Then he said, “I finished the reading questions.”
“Did you finish the worksheet too?” He nodded, face in hands and elbows on desk. “Both sides?” Another nod.
Then he said, “I’m bored.”
All I could say (and no one else was listening, so I felt it was safe) was, “I know you are, I know how you feel. I promise you it will all pay off one day. Don’t let it discourage you.”
He just nodded some more, looking resigned.
Oh, smart kids. Please don’t let the monotony of middle school (or high school, or life) get you down. Eventually you get a chance to stretch out and grow.
And then in college you’ll learn the joys of skipping class. So work it while you’ve got it.