I get the same question a lot these days...."Are you surviving at the middle school?" or "Do you regret your decision yet?"
So here it is...my official reflection of the first few months as a middle school teacher ...
What do I love about teaching middle school?
Students have an undeniable excitement to learn. They aren't "too cool for school" and still really have fun while learning. I love how much progress I have seen in them in such a short period of time. From writing to behaviors to higher level thinking, I am so impressed with how quickly they learn.
They are super compliant and still respect and like their teachers. Kids don't come to class complaining about other teachers or classes. They live in the moment and do not seem to dwell on things beyond their control.
They do not judge. I have yet to feel judged by anyone in the entire building. They are incredibly accepting and so very sweet. I can't tell you the number of notes, emails, and treats kids have given me just to say thanks for teaching them.
This doesn't mean all of these things were missing in my previous classroom with older kids, it's just different.
What do I miss?
Mostly, I miss the respect and trust the parents had in my ability to provide the best possible opportunities for their kids. It is hard to adjust to being questioned daily by parents who don't know me and will accuse or point fingers when truly my goal is to help their child be more successful and independent. I can't speak from their point of view though. Maybe when my own kids are in middle school, I will feel the same way when I see them becoming more independent and not making the choices I would like them to make. Either way, I miss the trust.
I wanted a challenge and needed change. I got both. I love the challenge of creating lessons to appeal to a younger crowd. I love having a team to work with, who push me to try things outside of my norm. I love the environment of my campus, one of equality and acceptance for all and everyone putting kids first.
So, yes I am surviving and no, I absolutely do not regret my decision to mix life up a little.