May 2, 2010

Too many hormones in 7th grade

Just when I felt like I had finally waded through the muck of teaching 7th grade (i.e., the attitudes, the nonchalance, the laziness, lack of discipline, lack of accountability, lack of honesty), here I am, stuck in the mud again.

I keep hearing over and over again, "7th grade is the worst grade to teach." Is it really true? Is it just this particular group of students? Is it me?

I know this is a pivotal time in their lives (though, what time in our lives isn't pivotal). It's a time when they're just coming into their own and learning to find out where they fit. This is the time when they begin to decide for themselves what they value as "right" and "wrong." So where is my place in this? I'm supposed to be teaching English Language Arts, but I find myself teaching them more about respect, how to make good choices, how to have courage and be accountable.

It's taking a lot of patience, patience that I've had to build up because I didn't have much of it to begin with. It's also taking a lot of energy that I should be using to teach content and ELA skills. Teaching 7th grade is so emotional. I wish I didn't take things so personally, but it's my personality to take things personally. I wonder if I'd feel differently about my role as a teacher if I were teaching another grade or if I were more...detached.


Sarah said...

I teach 7th grade math, I love it! Keep up the good work. Even in math class, I find myself teaching good decision making, respect, responsibility, and such.
Teaching middle school takes a special person :)

drube4 said...

I teach 8th grade social studies and high school geography. All grade levels and content require patience. High school teachers do not grasp the issues middle school teachers face and the same goes for middle school teachers. Both levels are very different. Maybe you are just running through a rough patch? Some groups (years) are tougher than others. If you are not taking things personally then you shouldn't be in the profession. Sounds like you are where you should be.

Ashton said...

It's not just you. I've had to teach the 7th grade for 4 years before I couldn't take much more of it - that's when I transferred to a high school, 12th grade. Students in this grade were much more mature and did their work, but there were those oddball students who haven't exactly "matured" like the others; however, all of the students were definitely better than 7th graders.