Stress x Stress = Survival mode : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 4

The everyday stress of teaching students in the throes of beginning adolescence adds up over a while. AND The everyday stress of living in poverty (which was about 90 percent of my students) adds up over a while. Put those two situations together . . .  and you get a classroom full of students - … Continue reading Stress x Stress = Survival mode : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 4

My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.

As I said in earlier posts, I'm sure I learned more during my semester of teaching middle school than my students did. And a lot - probably most - of what I learned was about myself. In this post, I'll share one of the "good" things I learned. I learned that I am a great deal more … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.

Teaching Middle School, Week 16: What I find most wearing and wearying

The main feeling I've had through these 16 weeks of teaching middle school is exhaustion. Being in the classroom every weekday makes me tired. Tired, tired, tired. And more tired. That's what I felt at the end of my high school teaching career 8 years ago. And it's what I feel now. If you've never taught … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 16: What I find most wearing and wearying

Teaching Middle School, Week 13: The reality of high-stakes TESTING

Imagine that this, above, is your setting for 5 days - from 8:10 until about noon each day. Except that the words on the window - taken down. Any interesting posters - taken down. Bare concrete block walls, tile floors, fluorescent light, and silence surround you. In the 3 to 4 hours you are testing, … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 13: The reality of high-stakes TESTING

Teaching Middle School, Week 12: Dreading Spring Break?

The week before spring break stretches on for much longer than five work days. Or at least it feels longer! I was just sure that Wednesday was Thursday. My body, mind, and spirit felt Thursday. But the calendar said "Wednesday." And on Thursday I had several students who are usually calm and corporative be a bit … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 12: Dreading Spring Break?

Teaching Middle School, Weeks 10 & 11: Sadness & Grace

  I knew this time was coming. I didn't know how long it would take. But it has arrived. The time when I know my students well enough that I start seeing or sensing their stories. Their challenges. Their deep pain. Communities in which poverty trickles down and settles carry the pains of our society. My … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Weeks 10 & 11: Sadness & Grace