Things I have learned while being in 7th grade as a 39 year old mom of 3 teenagers. It is an understatement to say that things have changed in the last 25 years since I attended 7th grade full time.
I had the privilege of shadowing my 13 year old son recently at Mayport Middle School. It was the easiest thing to schedule. I simply called the school and asked. The answer was an immediate yes. All of the teachers were informed in advance of my visit to their classroom. Why did I call and ask if I could do this? Well……..ya see….. There are two teachers that regularly take the time to inform me of my son’s behavior problems and poor grades. I greatly appreciate them keeping me informed. However, my son has tried to convince me that these teachers hate him, and it’s their “fault” that his grades are bad.
Since I’m much more old school than I like to admit, and I call his reasoning bull something or another, I thought I’d handle it my way instead. I had nothing else to do that day anyway. (Please note the sarcasm).
Teachers are responsible for walking the students everywhere they go. That includes supervised trips to the bathroom, and walking them to each class. There is also an order to the line, as boys and girls cannot walk together. They must be segregated into their specific gender groups.
There are no lockers. Actually, that’s not true. There are lockers, but they are not utilized by the students. The lockers are just there, all with locks on them. Students are given certain textbooks to take home, and use others while in the classroom.
Our first class was Civics. Interesting information covered in this class. The teacher discussed Propaganda and Political Parties. She was easily able to hold the students’ attention, and explained the information on a basic, simple to understand level. Taking notes is not like it used to be. Back in my day, I didn’t have a phone that would snap a picture of the slide she presented. I had to use my pen and paper, and actually write down the information.
Next up, we head to Health. Of course, the Civics teacher walks us there, while bumping into numerous other lines of segregated boys and girls in the hallways. Once seated and quiet in this class, the teacher is explaining the change from the Food Pyramid to the Plate. This was a much larger classroom, but this teacher rocked when it came to keeping the students quiet, respectful, and paying attention. She also did a review of an upcoming test and helped them to feel prepared for that exam.
Now is a really good time to mention that both teachers mistook me for a student. I’m wearing jeans and 3 inch heels. A student? Oh, for nothing in this world would I want to be a student in middle school again!
During Health, we were given a bathroom break, as students are not allowed to go during class change. That would disrupt the line from class to class, and apparently, students cannot be unsupervised. I was grateful for the bathroom break, and even more grateful to get to use the teacher’s lounge!
After Health, my son and I dart out to grab lunch at a local restaurant. Going to school is challenging enough, but there is no way that I’m brave enough to go to the cafeteria.
After lunch, we head into Science. This teacher is adorable, she’s young and energetic, and looks to be about as young as her students. Apparently, my young lad sits all alone at a table in the back of the room. This is one of the classes that his behavior needs significant improvement. According to this adorable teacher, he chooses to sit alone to minimize his distractions.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I took full advantage of every opportunity to embarrass him today. I gave him hugs, I kissed his cheek, I had him carrying my stuff, I called him by my favorite nicknames “Boo Boy” and “Little Man”, and of course, I announced to everyone possible that he’s my son and we are spending the day together. Nothing fazed him in the least. He didn’t care that I was with him, and almost relished in the extra attention. My plan backfired. His behavior in my presence wasn’t really that great. I was embarrassed that he called his classmates negative names, and talked too much, and didn’t pay attention, and was just goofy. However, even with all of those behaviors, he was one of the better behaved kids in the class.
After Science, with only one hour remaining, I rushed out. I had to get back to my adult world, with access to the internet, and the ability to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted. I definitely enjoyed 7th grade much more this time than 25 years ago. With that being said, I never want to go back. Oh, and I’m absolutely certain that my career choice was perfect for me. These teachers are the closest thing to angels that I’ve ever seen.