I think you’re awesome. I know that you might not care what I – a stay at home mom/ substitute teacher – think of you, but I just wanted to say it. I get to spend most of my days with my two little tiny daughters. I love my job at home with them. But, I also get to spend a few days a week with you guys. I have to tell you that I look forward to these days so much. That is because you’re awesome. You are caring. You are bright. You are funny. You are going to change our world.
When I get to step into your classroom, your turf, you welcome me with such enthusiasm. It is such a joy to walk down your halls and hear you tell me how happy you are that I’m there, or ask whose room I’m in. You make me feel like part of the team, part of your team. I love when you ask me about my kids, or tell me you saw me somewhere. I love seeing you out in public, and seeing the moment of recognition on your face. Seeing a teacher in public is strange (I remember), and I’m always so impressed with you when you take the time to say hello, or introduce me to your parents.
Having you care about me warms my heart, but seeing you care about each other makes it soar. Bullying is a big thing in middle schools. Always has been, probably always will be. You are trying on different personalities, some good, some bad. You will make mistakes and treat others poorly, and most of you will learn from it. This is a time in your lives that you should be given some space to make these mistakes, after all, you are still children. But, you are also becoming adults, so after you’ve made your mistakes, it is time to learn how to own up to them, and figure out how to make things right.
Every time I’m in your schools, I see you do this. I see someone care for someone else. You are learning so much more than the Common Core, or the state standards. You are learning how to be adults.
I love subbing in your schools, because it’s so much fun to see you learn. You are at an age that you can read a novel, or a memoir, or an article, and have a well-informed discussion about the texts. You are thinking on a deep level, adding inquiry to your conversations. Your brains are soaking things up, your hearts are pumping ideas, and your mouths are sharing your ideas, opinions, questions, and realizations with each other. You are all so bright, and intelligent, and you are all trying so hard. And that’s what’s important.
I have so much fun when I am in your classrooms. You constantly crack me up, even when I know I should be serious. You are at such a fun age, an age when you really develop a sense of humor, and timing. I know that I can give you a hard time sometimes, and that you will give it right back to me. You are incredibly random, and that cracks me up. You make of strange names for me, for no other reason than to let me know that you think I’m cool.
I have heard that some adults don’t really like you. They think you’re rude, uninterested, self-absorbed, disrespectful. I think they just don’t get you. They don’t understand that you are becoming who you are, and that takes a bit of work. I see that you are interested, and interesting. If there is a cause that you believe in, I guarantee that there is no one who will work harder to achieve a goal than you will. You have the tenacity, the motivation, and the energy of a hundred adults when it comes to something you believe in. You seriously could change the world. You seriously will.
I wanted you to know that, for whatever it’s worth, you are respected, admired, encouraged, and loved. I think you’re awesome. I can’t wait to see what you do with our little world.
Mrs. Williams (or Carolyn)
This is so beautiful! What an excellent teacher you are. I agree with everything you’ve said. Though I’ve also been guilty of being a little scared of middle schoolers. I wish you could have been MY teacher, C!
They can be a bit intimidating, but then you realize they’re basically children trying to be adults. There’s something adorable about that.
Great post!! One thing I have learned in teaching middle school, if they trust you and feel supported, the sky is the limit on what they are capable of. I love teaching middle school.
Thanks, Tai! Middle schoolers are the best!
NOVEMBER 2015: CURRENTLY - And Then They....
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