I understand when strangers, upon finding out I’m a middle school teacher, have some kind of reaction; usually, it’s one of two. First, it’s a gasp, followed by “That’s a tough age, I could never do that!” or second, “oh, God bless you!”
Eighth grade students are sweet and sour: I often think I’m just teaching kindergartners who are less sweet and more sour. This afternoon is a perfect example: young lad, highly distract-able, meandering, and willful, has an object in his hands. He glances at the ceiling, then to me, jiggling this goop, looking for the opportunity to toss it to the ceiling. I needed to intervene, and throw the goop myself. This substance has only one purpose: to stick to walls, windows, and ceilings. My own home has greasy-ghost imprints of goop past. How much planning does it take to make sure the goop is in one’s hands at the beginning of class, instead of something to write with? How much intentionality in choices and the cost/benefit analysis goes on when one actively decides, “Today, I shall toss goop at Mrs. L’s ceiling, make everyone laugh, ha ha ha, and that old cow will never know the difference! Tra-la-la!”
Well, the goop is on the ceiling. And the young lad will earn a lunch detention every day until the goop falls down. I like to have fun, too.