Do these look like kids you should fear?
Honestly, I was TERRIFIED of middle schoolers when I started my training at K-State, mostly because I remembered my middle school years. Yikes.
I am here to debunk the myths. I promote teaching middle level because my whole thought process has changed. I originally wanted to be a big time high school band director (think Olathe, Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission, etc.) then I got the opportunity to work with elementary kids so all I wanted to do was elementary (especially Kinders!). I took this job with 6-8 graders, thinking it would be ok for a few years, then I would go back to elementary.
Now I have fallen in love with the middle level. I get 6th graders that are still elementary; they want to please you, they still have that young spirit, but they can still follow high expectations. 7th graders are in that awkward stage of finding who they are so they need you to set a positive example of character, while 8th graders are starting to grow up. They will do what you ask, but with a more adult flair. You are able to start to discussing more adult matters and the true meanings of things, like song lyrics. They are also able to lead and take care of the 7th and 6th graders.
I don’t know if I could go back to elementary. I treat my kids like adults; I expect them to solve problems, take care of themselves and take responsibility for their actions. At this age, I can teach those skills, which I really enjoy.
If you ever encounter middle school kids, don’t be afraid. They mean well, I promise. They might fight back or cry or roll their eyes, but they are thankful for your attention, for your care and for you just being there. This is the age where we can make the most difference.
There are scarier things than middle schoolers, like certain parents and spiders. Even then, spiders are worse than (most) parents.
Have a great week!