edu180atl: hartley jeffries 12.12.2012
When I meet someone new and he or she asks me what I do for a living, my response is always easy, automatic, and true: I am a teacher. Probe a little more, and my new friend might ask what subject I teach and what grade levels I work with. Upon discovering that I teach Spanish to middle school students, my acquaintance will nearly always reply to me with one of two very predictable responses: “Oh God, WHY?!”, or “God bless you, you must be a saint”.
It is so amazing to me that my career choice consistently elicits this kind of response from people outside the teaching profession. It reminds me how few people really know, really “get”, today’s middle school student. Though it may seem presumptuous of me to assume that anyone who loathes the idea of working with preteens doesn’t really know them, to me it’s clear that most just haven’t spent enough time—or maybe just the right kind of time—with this age group. It makes me sad, actually. Because anyone who has spent even an hour getting to know what makes a middle schooler tick, trying to really see them for who they are, would discover that these passionate, inspiring, malleable little grownups-in-the-making have the power to melt even the coldest heart.
About the author: Needless to say, I love my job. I call myself a teacher, but the reality is that I am a student in the classroom of an army of middle school-aged teachers, and I’m loving every lesson.