Why do I like teaching middle school? And, is there a difference between boys and girls? Let me answer both of those questions. We're rehearsing for "Into the Woods." It's hard music and the kids have been focusing a long time, so I give them a break.
The volleyball team practices before us, so the net and a bin of volleyballs are out. At the beginning of the break, a student says, "Can we play volleyball on the break?" "Sure," I reply. They start playing and I leave to get a drink and wash my hands from a nasty Dr. Pepper/Coke accident.
I come in, maybe two minutes later. There is a blitzkrieg of volleyballs. The 5 boys are pelting each other. They are all over the gym, everywhere and nowhere, firing volleyballs at each other like some kind of possessed pitching machine. Every time one of them gets hit, there is a loud and long death scene. And then it begins again. How 5 boys can simultaneously fire 85 volleyballs is beyond me. But they're middle school boys. They can do anything.
3 girls are standing in a circle bumping a ball back and forth to each other as you would in a volleyball practice. They are focused and on task. 2 more girls are out in the hall exchanging secrets and talking about VERY IMPORTANT THINGS that require whispers, giggles, and frequent exclamations.
How can I not love my job? From Sondheim to madness in two minutes. And in another two minutes, they'll be back to trying to figure out 9/8 time and getting their mouths around tricky lyrics.
And the boys and girls? They are so different. So unique. They each have such strengths, so much they can contribute. I can't imagine my life or the world without middle school boys. I can't imagine my life or the world without middle school girls.
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Thoughts about raising and teaching adolescents. You can read the complete series here. (What in the world are Middle School Mondays?) Click here.
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