we in the field of education tend to focus on the negative, rather than the positive? Simply put, there are many more good things that happen every day than there are bad (especially at my school). Perspective. In the case of my school, a middle school for boys from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the process of “formation”, moving our boys along the growth spectrum emotionally, academically, socially and physically, is just that, A Process. No masterpiece, or even a basic building for that matter, was created instantly. It takes time, patience, planning, perseverance and commitment to make this happen.
I know classrooms are our domains: MY classroom, MY students, MY desks, MY computers, etc and WE want to see instant results. Heck, I am certainly not the most patient person in the world. Hunker down, pack a snack, it’s going to take a while to get middle schoolers on board. Or in the case of JoAnn Rintel Abreu, middle school is an acquired taste. I know what WE do is hard. Why else would people say, “I am sorry” to me when I tell them I work at a middle school. Only a person who has lost their mind would want to go back to this wonderfully awkward time, right? I lost my mind a while ago I guess.
We need to stop and routinely celebrate OUR accomplishments, both as an institution and personally. There is always more work to be done and skills to be honed (in ourselves and our students). Maybe that is why WE never seem to be happy with what is in front of us. Rather, we should open our eyes a bit wider and look deeper. Surely, you will see a classroom, students, teachers, desks, computers and a school that is growing before your eyes.
So, I raise my glass of lemonade this summer to all the middle school teachers out there (I know it is an acquired taste-middle school that is). I salute you and all the POSITIVE work you are doing. Like lemonade, middle school might not taste so good right away, but I promise you, once the tartness washes away it is a pretty good drink. Cheers.