Monday, January 4, 2010

Middle School

I used to think that as a teacher I could protect kids from the painful experiences of their adolescence, and spare them the horror that I was subjected to in my formative years. When I was a recess monitor for Middle School I saw kids being so cruel to each other that I felt compelled to step in and help, but then something happened. I realized that being teased, picked on, laughed at, made fun of, beaten up and humiliated is what Middle School is all about. There is no other time where people are so awkward, and everybody is ready to call them out because of it. The only kids who come out of Middle School unscathed are the pretty girls who are the ring leaders of the their little clique, and the smart jocks. Every other boy and girl is fair game for wedgies, cruel rumors and eating disorders.

When I was in Middle School I was popular, but super awkward looking, so even though I had many friends, I still got picked on. I remember a day when people took turns spitting on me. My friends spit in my hair, my face, etc. MY FRIENDS! This event, while traumatic, did not ruin my life, or force me into therapy, in fact it might have made me stronger. With this and other similar incidents in mind, I never again interfered with the goings on at Middle School recess. I knew that these kids needed to experience the full brunt of the pain of the worst three years of their life to be complete adults. I know I grew either in spite of, or because of Middle School, and I couldn't deprive the kids of that critical time. I can't speak for everyone (like the girl who some friends wrote a hate petition for, that I signed), but overall, Middle School is supposed to suck.

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