Middle School

The idea of teaching middle school has always frightened me, so this semester I get to face my fears.

I like kids of all ages. I appreciate their humor, their eccentricities, their enthusiasm—even their immaturity can sometimes remind me not to take myself too seriously. They say the strangest things without even thinking. They get up and dance randomly. And, for the most part, they still see adults as authority figures, so they listen (at least sometimes).The good thing about being a middle school teacher is that you can really prepare kids for high school. You can start asking them to practice skills that will help them in the future. Plus, lots of the kids are still in a place where they feel comfortable taking risks, so you can get into all sorts of weird conversations and fun activities.

I am in a weird position because the students I’m working with now have been working with the same teachers for the past year or two. I show up, a week into their second semester, and it’s just kind of… different… all of a sudden. I don’t know their names perfectly. I don’t know what I’m supposed to teach them or how they’ve been taught in the past. I don’t think they see me as an authority figure and I don’t totally feel comfortable being that for them. I guess the best way to describe how I feel is just uncomfortable. I feel awkward and a little bit afraid.

I don’t really know where to go from there. At the end of last semester, I stopped writing about my experiences because things got really overwhelming—not so much as a teacher, but as a student. Right now, I don’t feel that passion I felt when I started all of this because it’s underneath a lot of discomfort. Nothing can stop me, but I do want to recognize that right now I don’t feel great. From experience, I know this will change. I will start to feel more comfortable and engaged. I won’t doubt myself so much. I will grow.

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