Connecting With Middle Schoolers

For the record: I Love Middle School aged people.

Truly.

Go ahead. Be jealous.

Go ahead. Call me crazy (if you do, you clearly don’t already know me!)

So go ahead, think what you will… I think – and know – that I love people of middle school age.

Why?

Because if you treat them openly with respect, they’ll do the same in return.

They’ve not (yet??) developed impermeable crusts or cynicism or doubt or mistrust. If they have those things, it’s because some stupid short-sighted adult judged, mocked, belittled and otherwise communicated with that person that they weren’t worthy. BS.

Middle schoolers are amazing!! (It’s their parents that are hard to live with sometimes… another topic for another time, perhaps.)

They’re still open to trusting others if the others show themselves to be trustworthy. They want to connect with the world around them. I love helping them do that, in a safe and respected setting.

When I taught middle school, years ago, I didn’t accept the job because it was middle school. I accepted it because I wanted to teach. And I had substitute taught literally everything in a small rural American school district (think: a town of 1500, outlying areas a few thousand more…). I taught because there was nothing else in the world I wanted to do more.

The principal extended the offer to me and I accepted. Boom.

Connecting with this magic age was life-changing for me.

Really, I’d not spent any time thinking I did or didn’t want to teach them; I simply wanted to teach. And I knew there were a few ages that weren’t my jam (let’s just say I’m glad other teachers like other ages).

Middle School age is tooooootallllly my jam.

I love them because I understand them.

Chocolate drawing made by a middle schooler

They’re nuts. Their bodies are changing, daily. Their thoughts are running crazy, in large part due to the still mercurial growth of their bodies. They’re fun and open and funny and challenging and affectionate and stubborn and….. Well, everything we all are, except way more open about a lot of it.

At heart, I’m likely a middle schooler. Open, silly, like to have fun, unsure, happy, willing, trusting.

I learned a lot those few years with my middle school classroom. The connections that were created and built sustain me and remind me, all these years later, of how it takes so little to make that first move. To start a conversation that can be meaningful with one other person at a time.

My connection to middle school people is one I relish and will forever enjoy.

So, go ahead and scoff if it makes you feel good. Laugh, shake your head. I’m giving you back what you’re dishing out!

They’re whip-sharp, will engage in anything if they trust you and will make the world a better place, despite all of us non-middle school age, supposed “adults.” Being connected to middle schoolers makes my world better.

I dare you: connect with a middle schooler today. Tell me about it below.

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