I teach middle school kids…7th and 8th graders to exact. Whenever I tell someone what I teach, I frequently hear, “Oh my…I am so sorry!” I usually just shrug it off. It definitely takes a special kind of teacher to be able to handle their hormonal selves, and I have grown to just love them to bits and pieces.
I frequently refer to them fondly as my Sour Patch Kids. You know the candy, the little bite sized guys coated in sour sugar…it makes your mouth pucker for just the briefest of moments only to be followed by the slow release of sweetness that lingers awhile on your tongue.
Yup…those are my junior high guys and gals.
- They can be a bit sour when they are arguing with one another…closing each other’s lockers or a comment that was taken the wrong way.
- But then comes the sweetness… an unprompted apology, a hug between friends to assure them that things between them are okay, the flicker of a smile exchanged.
- They can be a bit sour when they don’t hear what they want. Some sassyness may come out…an eye roll or two, perhaps mixed in with an exaggerated sigh.
- But the comes the sweetness… the ownership of their actions. A few meditative breaths to calm themselves down and they are back on track- ready and eager to go.
- They can be a bit sour when they have stayed up way too late, engaging in video games and online chats resulting in short fuses, grumpy responses, and droopy eyes.
- But then comes the sweetness…they find themselves distracted in their work, forgetting that they were tired, slowly smiling and participating.
- They can be a bit sour when they have tough mornings. Short tempered and distracted, unfocused in their work.
- But then comes the sweetness…. their apology and explanation (Ms. Geijer, I had a tough morning…can we talk in the hallway, please?), a quick hug to comfort, a high five from me to them to let them know they’ve got this!
- They can be a bit sour…but, they are going through changes…raging full of hormones. Their lives outside of school can be tough. Friendships are hard in junior high. Gossiping sometimes a bit too much.
- But they are mostly made of sweetness… Bright smiles and sarcasm. Jokes and lilting laughter. Apologies and forgiveness. Growth and optimism. Kind and thoughtful. More sweet than sour.
Always MUCH more sweet than sour…even on their toughest days.
Junior high kiddos might be Sour Patch Kids… But they are my Sour Patch Kids and I wouldn’t have them any other way.