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Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Hate Middle School

Alright, maybe hate is a strong, strong word to use but I truly detest the middle years of school.  It's the polar opposite of how I feel about elementary school...I LOVE elementary school.

Yesterday reminded me of why I hate...alright, strongly dislike, middle school.  Yesterday my friend, Julie, and I took our daughters to orientation at a middle school here in the area so our girls could get an idea what next year is going to be like for them if they choose to go to there.  It was a great tour and the staff couldn't have been more pleasant, upbeat, cheerful, informative, you name it ~ they were it!  The school had other parents and students on hand to answer questions...everything was going great.  I couldn't have been more impressed until...we went to gym class and I was reminded of why I really, really don't like middle school.

The kids were listening to directions from the teacher.  She was telling them how this lesson was going to go and explaining that the kids needed to break up into groups of five to 10.  And then she blew the whistle and the kids went scrambling to find their friends and their groups.  I picked one kid out of the crowd immediately.  I knew he'd have no group.  He was tall and pudgy with frizzy, big hair and glasses.  He wandered through the groups, trying to find one for himself.  It didn't materialize on it's own.  And my heart went out to him.  I don't know what ended up happening, we were ushered out, to our next stop before I could see the end of his story for that day in P.E.  But my hope is that he found a group to work with.  My hope is the teachers saw what was happening and stepped in if he didn't find a group to be a part of.

Middle school sucks.  It's when cliques are truly formed and you, well, you better find a clique to hang with or you'll be that kid.  The outcast, the nerd, the geek, the loser, the loner.  You'll be the kid I saw yesterday.  Middle school sucks.

I know some of this happens in elementary school.  It happened to Claire.  She's been bullied.  But it was stopped before it could get out of control.  The teacher and school counselor stepped in and stepped up.  Most teachers in elementary school have a very special bond with their kiddos.  It just can't be that way in middle school.  There are too many kids passing through their rooms each day to be able to give all of the kids the same kind of love and devotion an elementary school teacher can give them.  Elementary school teachers are with these kids, all day, every day and they grow to love their students, at least all of my kids were treated with love and respect from the minute they walked into school until the moment they left to come home.  If they had a problem, the kids knew where to go.  Bullying and deeming someone and "outcast" may happen more in elementary school more than I know but I'd like to think the kids and the teachers are there for each other more than they are not.

I remember going to Zach's fifth grade "graduation."  I was sitting right behind some of the kids...mostly girls.  And I watched how they all interacted with each other.  They were kind and loving and helpful.  They were sweet.  They helped smooth each other's hair, tuck in stray tags and they made sure each and every one looked fabulous and put together.  And I know some of them weren't best buddies but they made sure to help each other.  They were like family.  And I got a little sad, knowing what middle school would have in store for the graduates.

I know it's part of growing up but middle school really does suck.  It's hitting me even harder knowing Claire is headed there.  I knew the boys would hold their own.  Zach was so much taller and bigger than most kids in school, I knew no one would pick on him and if they did they would feel the sting right back.  At that point he had played hockey for five years...no one was gonna get the better of him.  And Lucas, well, he's a charmer.  He's got personality out the wazoo and he's not afraid to use it.  He lets things slide right off him and he's never met a stranger.  I wasn't worried about him.  And it's not that I'm "worried" about Claire in the true sense of the word but I am more anxious about her heading into middle school.  Girls are such little bitches sometimes.  I don't want her being one and I don't want her being the target of any.  I will come unglued if it happens either way.  I want her to feel safe and secure within the confines of middle school, like I know she does with elementary school.  And I will keep my feelings of middle school sucking to myself because she's already a bundle of nerves, not wanting to go to middle school really at all.

I hate that there are outcasts and kids who have no group to hang out with.  I know not every kid can be the super-star, the athlete or the one to be admired,.  But I wish every kid in middle school could have a group to hang out with or at least one friend to help them along.  Middle school is such a bundle of emotions as it is.  Hormones are kicking in, kids feel strange about the ever changing things happening to their bodies.  They need someone, a contemporary, to help them through.

I am thankful Zach has weathered the storm of the middle school years with nary a scratch.  Lucas, ahhh, he's holding his own but their could be changes in the future for him (another blog for another time).  Claire ~ I just hope she comes away from not ever knowing how much I hate middle school and why.

Oh, for the love of my children....

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