Middle School Scholars are Great! Really.

      The middle gets a bad rap. Everyone bemoans the fate of a middle child, no one ever wants to sit in the middle of the back seat, people fear their kids will fall between the cracks if they are mid-level students (that doesn't happen), and everyone-parents and teachers alike- give a little chuckle of horror when I say I love my middle school students.  As if middle school students can’t be loved. Like they must be way too obnoxious, cool, and sullen to love.
      That cannot be further from the truth. Middle school students walk the slippery slope between child and adult, innocence and worldliness.  Theirs is not an easy path. Middle school scholars present to the world a facade of cockiness and nonchalance. But underneath the tough shell they are a bundle of fear and insecurity, and they would like nothing better than to scream out to the world,” I…still… love… my wubbie!” Or teddy bear. Or stuffed elephant. Really.
      It drives their parents crazy. And the parents think that if it’s hard for them to love their own kid sometimes, it must be impossible for anyone else to do so. That’s just not true. Most middle school teachers will admit that it’s not always easy, but we love and respect our students.  How is that? Well, first, we don’t live with them 24/7. It’s easier for us to find something to love in 42 minutes a day of exposure. Second, most of these kids have been taught properly. So those same parents who bemoan the backtalk, taught their kids to behave properly in school. Therefore, we really do get to see the best side of those kids. The beastly side they see at home is just these wubbie-lovers trying to work out their hormonal and social frustrations in a safe environment, with people who will always love them, despite how beastly said wubbie-lovers can sometimes be.
     So, teachers and parents, let’s all love them for what they are right now and for what they will become under our care. And for now, just between us, let’s let them remain wubbie-lovers deep down.  

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