So many people have asked me why do I teach middle school? Why do I love middle school so much and if I would ever leave middle school to teach high school?
I AM A MIDDLE SCHOOL KID AT HEART! I laugh at the all the corny jokes, my mind is permanently attached to the gutter, and hello my awkwardness fits right in with the middle school masses! I firmly believe that teachers teach the grades that best fit their own school mental age. I have the brain of a 7th grader.
Here just a few examples of some middle school awesomeness that I have encountered in my few years of teaching.
My first year of teaching I was in a pretty nasty car accident that resulted in my car being totaled. Since I didn't have a car, was living in a brand new city were I knew a few people, and my family was hours away, so my mom and dad drove up my grandmother's Crown Victoria. I only had the Crowny V for a week and some of my students brought me items to "pimp" my ride. Because clearly I need to drive a pimped out Crown Victoria. One young scholar informed me that he got the rims from his brother's car...the kid didn't have a brother. I made him return said items.
One time a I had a group of girls decide that they were going to go as Miss Loyd for Halloween and they all came to school wearing black dress pants, purple tank tops, and green cardigans.
One young lad one day at lunch tried to hand me a dollar and said, "Hey there sweetheart go by yourself an ice cream." (Say that in your best 1920s Gangster voice.)
Last year my 7th grade boys tried out all of their pick up lines on me first before they tried them out on "real girls" some of my favorites, "If you were a Transformer you would be called Optimus Fine." "I need to report a theft, because you have stolen my heart." "How about you and me go study some solfege."
On the crazy Frontier City trip, it was suppose to rain. My sixth graders were so worked up over the rain and freaking out about getting wet. It didn't rain. But they did ride the water rides multiple times were soaked. Sixth Grade Logic.
The humorous stories and all of the laughs are a big part of teaching middle school, but my biggest reason is simply this: their story is still being written.
I love middle school because I get to play a bigger part in their educational story. By the time they are in high school they are on the path to whatever they want to do post graduation. It has been decided and then it is just a matter of making sure everything falls into place. With middle school however I get to help write that story. They are just starting out. They maybe heading down a path that will destructive to them and to their education and with middle school we can try our best to intervene and get them where they need to be. When they are in choir in middle school they are just trying to figure out if they even like to sing, and nine times out of ten they fall in love and they are hooked. Rarely in high school choirs do just have a random kid say "hey I want to try choir" but in middle school that happens all the time. Middle school students to need feel connected to something and if they can feel connected to choir and to music than I call it a success! What I love most about my job is not the music that I teach, but it is the connections that I build with students. Having students for three years in a row is awesome! Will some of them take choir in high school? They might not, but for those three formative years of their lives they belonged to something. They were connected and engaged to a community of musicians. They learned not only how to sing, but how to be better people.
To all my elementary music teacher friends-I could never do what you do! Thank you for preparing them and loving them. Teaching them to tie their shoes, stand in circles, play Orff instruments, have play parties, and listen to Peter and Wolf.
To all my high school choir teacher friends- I could never do what you do! Thank you for caring and loving those that we send on to you. For finishing the race, and writing the final chapter in their public education career. Thank you for continuing to nurture their love of choral music.
I will never say never about wanting to teach high school choir one day, but my heart and soul is made for middle school choirs. Cheesy jokes, all the drama, and all the voice cracks. I love it.