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Why I love middle school #6

 

Here are posts #1-5 in the “Why I love middle school series.

This year has been very difficult with my 8th graders.

While I haven’t really had any behavior issues in my classroom since December, it has been an incredible challenge keeping it that way.  I had to keep student behavior in mind every step along the way while planning units.  In the end…and I hate to admit it…it will always make me a better teacher, and I have designed some of my best units ever this year.

I had a conversation with a student the other day that could easily summarize why behavior has been such a challenge.

Me: If I keep having to go and look for you day-after-day during homeroom there might just have to be a consequence.

Student: What’s a consequence?

Yep…many of my kids seem to have lived 14 years without ever having had a consequence.

I know…doesn’t seem like a “Why I love middle school moment.”  But after the student said that I felt lucky…just for a moment…that I am a part of their lives and get to take some pretty wiley kids each year and provide them with a peaceful corner, a hunk of patience, a bucket of smiles, and yes…a bag full of consequences.  While my consequences may not seem like the traditional ones that are dealt out in many classrooms, there are still repercussions for messing up.  Our consequences look a lot like talking, walking, and sitting.   Our consequences sound a lot more like expectations, than punishments.

Reason #6 why I love middle school is because at the end of the year kids who wanted to hate the teacher me in the beginning, quickly realize that no matter how hard they tried, I was not going to abandon them by putting in place consequences that would drive a wedge between us, but instead put in place expectations that draw us together.  While I will never claim 100% success, I can verify that it takes nearly my entire hunk of patience, and an entire bucket of smiles each year…and thank goodness there are gummy bears to boost my spirit when the hunk gets small, and the bucket is running low.

Here are posts #1-5 in the “Why I love middle school series.

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