When people find out I teach middle school I usually get reactions similar to:
-"Are you crazy?!"
-"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure a high school job will open up soon."
-"Bless you, you deserve sainthood."
Believe it or not I have been teaching middle school since 2003 because I LOVE IT! The high school our middle school feeds into has tried to poach me twice but both times I have steadfastly refused to leave.
My days are varied and interesting. I laugh. A lot. Sometimes I get so mad it feels like steam is literally coming out of my ears. I sit in meetings where we are told that we are going to have to work harder and do more for the same or maybe even less pay. I have to jump through a hundred hoops every five years just to be able to keep my job. I boost confidence. I hand out band aids, I look up weird facts on Google to settle arguments, I listen to kids' favorite songs. I ask about new baby brothers. And of course, last but not least, I plan engaging, fun, meaningful lessons based on my core curriculum. I think I may have one of the best jobs in the world.
I'm going to explain a little scenario that happened today. It will either help you understand why I love middle school so much or it will make you even more certain that I am, in fact, crazy.
In my last class today I had a few kids who were done with the current project and these "early finishers" were engaged in a variety of activities. One kid was painting with watercolors. Here is a picture of his finished "work of art":
I admired his picture and told him that I really liked his background colors.
Then this happened:
Me: "So, what inspired you to create this . . . painting?"
Kid #1: "Poo."
Kid #2: "Our bodily functions are an art form."
Me: "Interesting. There was an artist who used to paint with elephant dung."
Kid #3: "What!? Someone used elephant poo as paint?"
Kid #3: "They're wasting his food supply!" (points to his best buddy)
Everyone: Hysterical laughter.
I don't know if that made you laugh, but I got a kick out of it.
So there's a little look into my everyday life. Some form of this insanity happens in every class period, everyday I am at school. By June I am more than ready to leave it behind. By August I'm chomping at the bit to get back to it.
Call me crazy, but at least I'm surrounded by people who love Crazytown as much as I do.