For my grad school class this term, there have been three Fridays of school tours. It was interesting as can be. We saw nine schools, covering a wide gamut of different models of teaching methods in public and private schools. Some of them struck me as utterly mad, leaving me questioning if they taught anything at all.
When all was said and done, I found myself pretty well back where I started. The final school was just a middle school in the first ring of suburbs. Nothing fancy; no magnetic or chartered stuff. They had a declining population that was slowly shifting demographics. Their principal in her tenure had concentrated on making themselves strong in special education and music, which I can respect.
To open that tour, our class had the chance to pay three bucks to have a school lunch with the kids. Middle schoolers are absolutely nuts, but usually very social. I and another gentleman took it upon ourselves to openly converse with some young ladies who had no idea why a couple of adults were talking to them, but were happy to answer questions about what they didn’t like about their school. Their answers were often amusing and enlightening at the same time.
Still, I think what stands out in my mind is how energy works in middle school. At that level, the kids are young enough to have their own energy to give off, and as a teacher, I could feed off of it. I can understand that with all that I’ve done here where I work, that the students really do help fuel what you want to do. With high school, I can see there being less of that, particularly in the core required subjects.
These are just a bit of my observations. I like my schools small, that’s for sure. The giant institutes were off-putting for me. And after all of it, I walked away liking the idea of middle school, at least to start out. Perhaps down the line I will want to be able to sink more into the content than dealing with a bunch of goofy twelve year olds. But for now, I can dig it.