Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Accentuate the Positive

Twelve year-olds are rarely shy when it comes to telling adults how they feel.  Sure they might not want to share everything face to face but when given a writing assignment that asks their opinions on ways to change their school, they've got plenty of ideas.  Not surprisingly, all their thoughts revolve around the same things: lunch, start-time, homework and recess.

School starts at 7:50 around here.  Yes, it's early and I'm sure it seems even earlier to the 6th graders who were enjoying a nice, late 9:00 am school start time just last year.  It's been 10 years since I made the jump from elementary to middle school teacher and I still haven't adjusted to the start time.  So kids, I feel for you, really I do.

Recess.  Yea, we used to have that when I taught elementary school.  Back in the good old days, before the testing craze took over, I'd take the class out for a break in the morning and there was a built in outdoor recess time after lunch. One day my 5th grade colleague and I even arranged for a short Wiffle ball game (complete with peanuts!) to celebrate opening day of the baseball season.  I doubt that would happen today.  Unfortunately, the after lunch recess does not exist in middle school either and that really bugs the kids.

At the top of the complaint list is lunch.  Many of my students are sure the "lunch ladies" recycle the fruit that students throw out every day.  They are also savvy enough to see that although the school believes they are serving healthy food no one is getting any healthier.  According to these young foodies the pizza is greasy, the burgers are suspicious and the salad is wilted.  No one is eating any of this healthy food they say- for most students lunch means nothing at all or a few bags of chips and an ice cream.

Homework.  I had one student write about how she wished there was more homework.  That's crazy, right?  Everyone else was, not surprisingly, against having any sort of homework.  What can I say?  I don't like grading papers at night either...

So kids, I feel for you really I do.  I realize that I'm the one that started the conversation, but all your complaints are getting me down so I think it's time we focus on the positive and share what's good about your school.


  1. Unless, of course, they find a way to change that which chagrins them. I see persuasive essays in their futures.

  2. That sounds like a good idea to celebrate the positive, too!

  3. Recycling fruit? No wonder they're not eating lunch! I hope you revive the Opening Day wiffle ball game. They'll remember that for the rest of their lives. They won't remember anything about the SOL test.