All the unknown endings

I have worked with all age ranges of children throughout my career, from pre-k through high school. Each age group has its own unique attributes, but somehow I have always been most strongly drawn to the middle school age group.  

I found the older high school kids very suspect of adults and more unlikely to trust anyone. The little guys, honestly I had no idea what to do with them.  It was difficult for me to adapt to their developing comprehension and processing skills. 

This year I am back with the Jr. high students again and I feel at home.  They present a collection of challenges and joys that if you don’t love, you can’t begin to imagine how anyone can.  They can test the patience of the even the best teacher.   As the adults attempting to guide these unique individuals, it is frustrating as we repeat as many ways as we can possibly imagine, appropriate expectations and potential pitfalls.  We try to help them to notice their own behavior and its impact on themselves and others.   We instruct, lecture, look for road blocks, plan for change and then sometimes in shear desperation beg, plead and yes even bribe to create positive change. 

Despite all this effort, the long term results are often unknown.  We are left to wonder….did they listen? Will they choose wisely? React purposefully?  Emerge in the world intact, successful, happy, satisfied?  We rarely know the outcome for these middle school students.  There are the few we know, the spectacular successes or the crushing defeats or the few who choose to stay connected. For all the rest though,  I often feel as though I have read so many stories but only part way.  I rarely to get to the ending, seldom knowing – what happens next?   I am left to wonder what will their story be?

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8 Responses to All the unknown endings

  1. jhaworthoy says:

    I agree with you about the middle school age student. That was my niche…and as for the primary students…I love how you said…you just didn’t know what to do with them. What I have found…since I am now retired…Facebook has brought many of my former students back to my life. It has been so wonderful seeing pictures of their families and learn about their lives. Not sure if you do Facebook…but you might want to try. Jackie

  2. Chris H. says:

    This makes me think of the wonders that Donalyn Miller talks through in her book, READING IN THE WILD–“the wild” refers to what happens when they leave her classroom.

  3. Tara says:

    I wish there was a way for me to see how all of my former students are doing! I really connected with your last two paragraphs. I moved up a grade level this year, and it has been very cool to see how some of these kids have grown, and even how some listened to what I said last year and did those things this year! They will be going to different schools next year, and I will miss seeing them, like I miss seeing all my previous kiddos!

  4. dawnaguilar says:

    Jr. High students are rare birds. You never know when they will fly off or where they will land. Middle schoolers are NEVER boring.

  5. nmjoy24 says:

    Wow! You are definitely not alone! This is especially on my radar this year. If I could even get a glimpse of what is next for them in the future maybe it would guide me to have more patience and ways I can realistically prepare and encourage.

  6. Kate Schwarz says:

    Faith comes in many forms, I think. Another great piece that left me wanting just a little more. I’ll be back tomorrow for my little more.

  7. Lmhteach says:

    You move up, I move down, but there is something about each age that is unique. It feels good to be with the little ones right now, but I do miss the relationships you form with junior high age students. You put it so well…the spectacular successes, or the crushing defeats…… Beautifully written!

  8. creech33 says:

    Love the look for road blocks, plan for change, beg, plead, and even bribe. So true!

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