Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lessons Learned in Middle School

I always tell people that my middle school experience wasn't all that awkward, which is why I'm now a middle school teacher: I wanted to go back and try for some more embarrassment and awkwardness. This year is coming to a close very quickly (and I'm SOOOO ready for summer). At the end of a school year, I usually ask my students to reflect on what they have learned, so I thought I'd do the same thing. Here are a few of the things I've learned from my students this year:

1) Brain Quest is a great way to pass a few minutes at the end of a class period. Plus, kids will do just about anything for a Jolly Rancher (incidentally, Jolly Ranchers are more popular than bubble gum and Hershey's Kisses...don't know why).

2) The best way to make ninth graders have a class discussion is to throw a bean bag snow leopard at one who you know will have something to say, and then make the students throw the leopard to someone else. That way, the kids can't get mad at you for putting them on the spot, because you didn't. Ironically, although they sometimes shrink at getting the bean bag, they always find something useful to say, and they have no qualms about inflicting the pain of participation on their best friends. :)

3) The kid who is most often asleep in your class is the most likely to be bouncing off the walls on the way in and out of class. More irony...

4) Students respond much better to a quiet, respectful voice than yelling...usually.

5) Ninth graders will pretend to hate any book you have them read just because it's not cool to read, but they will often tell you that they secretly enjoyed it in their personal written responses. Don't give up hope.

6) Seventh graders have more energy that ANY other age group, I promise. Get 35 of the them together at the end of the day, and just run for cover.

And, here are a few good quotes and experiences from the year:

*I gave my students the assignment to write similes about love for Valentine's day based on the "How Do I Love Thee" poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. My two favorites were...
I love thee like a tiger, ferociously
I love the like pi, infinitely

*"Miss Wright, can I do a jig on my desk and see if I fall off?"

*Student: "So, what do I do with this paper?"
Me: "Read the directions."
Student: "Oh." (as if that was such an unexpected answer)

Oh, there are so many more, but I have to think about it longer. Maybe if I come up with something amazing, I'll add a to be continued. Otherwise, I hope you can laugh at the crazy things my students do and get a glimpse of the chaos that is my life. Surely, they keep me entertained. What will I do without them all summer?


Kristy said...

Oh the Joys of Teacher~hood!! I'd still LOVE to be a fly on the wall in one of your classes! You're students are lucky to have you!

Paul and Susan said...

Sounds like you have some great ideas as a teacher for reaching out to your students. Thanks for sharing some of the humorous things also, I always need a good laugh.

Jeff said...

7th grade was a pretty awkward time for me. I'm sure I said some ridiculous things that my teachers laughed at. It sounds like you've had some great experiences.

Robyn said...

Teaching is the best! I am always excited to have a break but I love being with the kids.

Ann said...

I hope you know how much respect I have for you. You are an amazing teacher!