Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kim Frencken: The truth about middle school teachers

If there is one thing I've learned in my years in education it is the difference between middle school teachers and elementary teachers. While elementary teachers tend to be soft and nurturing, middle school teachers are sarcastic. Before you get your feathers ruffled, my middle school readers, remember... I'm one of you. I have yet to meet a true middle school teacher that didn't have some sarcasm running through their veins. I think we're born with it. It just naturally trips off of our tongues and into the air of our classrooms. Don't believe me. Try listening in on a conversation between middle school teachers. I'll make you a believer in about 5 minutes.

Oh, we can be soft and nurturing. But, day in and day out, it does take a toll on us. Sooner or later that little bit of sassy creeps out. Not all of our students get our humor. Sometimes our sense of humor flies right over their heads. I'll call it a sassy fly-by. And, yes, this amuses us more. This doesn't mean that we can't encourage a student or lend a shoulder to cry on. We're good at that too. We can cry with our students one minute and have them laughing the next minute. We can challenge and push our students to achieve a goal, meet them at the finish line, and polish off the day with a wise crack or two.

We're not afraid to be silly, but we do shy away from wearing costumes. We'd rather wear a smirk than dress up like a book character. We can play games, sing, and dance right along with the most limber teen-ager. We might fall and feel a little stiff the next day. Or embarrass ourselves with our lack of musical talent, but we're fearless when it comes to trying.

I don't know why we are the way we are, but I do know that this is how we relate to kids. Kids in that awkward stage of life that need to find someone that still remembers what it was like to be a tween- teen. That is what counts. Reaching out, making connections, and forming bonds. And when it comes to our kids and making a difference, we're dead serious about that!

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her education products, check out her blog, Chocolate for the Teacher.)

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