Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Middle School Stinks

During a conversation last night with Shawn Kibel, a teacher at Honey Grove Independent School District in Honey Grove, Texas, I causually mentioned how hot my school was. I teach just outside Buffalo, NY, and we have been experiencing a string of humid days in the mid 80s. I found it humorous that the idea of a school without central air conditioning was mind boggling to Shawn, but since I live in an area where it would only really be needed during two schools month each year, it makes sense that no schools allow the expense.

Still, the conversation got me thinking about some of the pitfalls of teaching during the last quarter of the year as spring stumbles its way into summer.

The Heat
If it’s 80 degrees outside, I can guarantee that my classroom will be approximately 20 degrees hotter. I’m on the second floor of the building, and the mass of writhing student bodies doesn’t help much either. Sometimes it gets so hot the stairs actually get wet. I’d like to think the building is weeping for my discomfort, but it’s actually because the difference in temperature is so extreme between the two floors that condensation forms. On hot days, we basically have weather patterns in our halls.

The Stink
Middle school kids smell a little funky by definition. Either they haven’t discovered the plesantries of personal care products yet, or they swim in Axe body spray before coming to school. Either way, it gets kind of stinky. Warm weather only amplifies this.

The Fights
I was talking to a teacher this morning who shared a story with me about a family member who owns a house on the shores of Lake Chautauqua. Every year, her yard floods and she literally finds fish spawning on the front lawn. Spring is the time of year when mother nature reminds us all that the future of our species needs our help. In middle schoolers, this means lots of hand-holding in the halls, and plenty of fights. It’s hard enough keeping kids’ attention even without Wrestle Mania taking place between periods. But hey, at least they aren’t spawning on the front lawn.

The Exams
Two weekends ago, I participated in a 5K walk for Hospice. Immediately following, I returned home to throw a birthday party for my sister-in-law. After the guests had left, I pulled out the push mower and cut the grass. That day was a marathon, and it didn’t end with the Hospice Walk. That’s how my students are feeling right now. New York State has just concluded its long battery of state assessments, and we still have two weeks of classes before they can run free.

So I guess I can’t blame my students if their attention is less than perfect. They’re sweaty, stinky, distracted, and exhausted. They are ready for summer. And so am I.
Save to delicious Saved by 0 users
Digg Technorati StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo
ma.gnolia squidoo newsvine live netscape tailrank mister-wong blogmarks slashdot spurl

0 Responses: