• Bernajean Porter

Teaching Middle School BEST Job EVER!

After years of teaching middle school - I'm joyfully back!

Do strangers regularly bless you when you tell them your profession? Sometimes they stare at me. Sometimes they just shake their head trying to imagine. If so, there is no doubt you’re a middle school teacher. Although being a middle school teacher middle school teacher has its ups and downs, the “ups” are magical moments that make all the challenges worth it. I have been forever changed by the life of teaching middle school - it changed my personality - my laughter - my determination to "win" their hearts everyday and . . . gratefully the magic of working with Middle Schoolers let's me stay tapped into my own creative inner child for so many other things in my life.

Here are the top reasons why teaching middle school is by far the best job EVER. It's an insight into the magic! Enjoy my personal reflection and storytelling [found in red text] based on We Are Teachers' article @ https://www.weareteachers.com/teaching-middle-school-best-job-ever/

1. Middle school students tell it like it is.

If your haircut is bad, your outfit is so-last-year, or your mascara smudged onto your eyelid, you can count on middle school students to let you know. Once in the middle of my excitement and passion for introducing the Middle Ages - a student raised their hand. I was tickled that there was already some interest and participation. Then i got a "Do you know you have a HUGE zit on your forehead?" Nope - I had forgotten. Thanks for sharing and launching a wave of class laughter in the middle of my exciting content. it wasn't easy recovering. Sigh!

Maybe the gracefulness in the way they tell you is missing, but they will hold you accountable and make sure you’re on point.

2. They also have a ridiculous sense of humor.

If the swirly brown emoji is in the frequently used list on your phone, there’s no doubt you’re teaching middle school. As adults, we’ve learned restraint with our jokes, but I know most of you enjoy the irony that inappropriate potty talk is number two on this list. Middle school students may not have sophisticated humor, but their silly, awkward jokes keeps us laughing, which must add years to our lives. I will never forget teaching adjectives to eighth graders . . . when our oral group practicing of "Big - Bigger -Biggest" started a guffawing that only ended when the bell rang. Without any other words than "biggest" - we had an eye crying moment of unexpectd humor. I never let on that i got the message. I admit it took me longer than it should have to get the courage to try again - with other adjectives. However to this day . . . it is one of my funnier stories about teaching middle schoolers.

4. You have an endless supply of funny stories at parties.

If you’re teaching middle school, there is no doubt you have a good story to share with friends at happy hour. I ADORED my kids - but felt i keep professional distance of adult - child in place at the same time until . . . once day i got a personal love note with explicit imaginings that were deeply embarassing. Now what? Who was it? As my mind raced at what to do - and reread the note for some kind of clues, i saw a misspelled word. So i gave an impromptu spelling test with the entire class with that same word included. And there he was - a dear sweet, kind boy who i now realized had been leering at me. I went to the principal who had a man-to-man talk about disrespect as well as broken trust. The young boy apologized and was placed in another classroom so neither of us had to endure the agony of being teacher and student again. Thank you, Dr. Biglow, for understanding the young man and my own situation. You can make your friends laugh, only slightly at your expense.

5. People bless you … often.

When a person asks your profession, and you respond with “middle school teacher,” more often than not, you get a response similar to this: “God bless you, honey!”  I smile because for me teaching this age group is all about energy - it can be a joyful day or a horrid day but a good teacher corrals that loose energy and helps laser it in service to their good!

6. Middle school students have hope.

Despite all the crazy, middle school students are the least jaded individuals we know. When the world gets crazy and adults are hard to deal with, middle school students often speak the truth. When there is a problem or a person in need, middle school students are the first to run to their teachers to propose a solution. They KNOW they can make a difference in the world. They don’t consider the obstacles, which when riding their bike over that giant ramp they made out of plywood to land in their pool is completely scary, but when it comes to their plans of saving the world, it is downright inspiring.

And that is why our first learning unit this fall will be "I-imagine: Taking my Place in the World" - the journey of awakening the dreamers and believers in students to claim their strengths, passions, and pathways as they discover their unique "light" in the world. My students will be creating vision videos 20 years in the future AS IF they are shining their light in the world for good - for themselves and for others. The research is astounding - but more about this in a later post!

I can't wait to add media making skills as well as the experience of authentic audiences to their ability in make a difference in the world! Our Media Maker Writers' Studio will bring the gambit of experiences to the world of Middle Schoolers. Stay tuned . . .

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