Middle School Minds

I’m one of those sick people who enjoys teaching middle school. My students are never boring. It’s incredible what comes out of their mouths.

Parents, if you don’t know this, they tell the teachers everything. It’s probably why Open House is at the beginning of the year. We also know what their bedroom looks like and what they do to torture their siblings.

One sad side effect of common core (and its related testing requirements) is that students now have to write informational essays that basically spit back a text that they have read. It takes all the creative writing out of the equation. Let me tell you that middle school students can write. They have a lot to say. Most of it is embarrassing, but there’s a lot there. They really hate the gossips that try to start fights. They know who loves them and who doesn’t. They understand when they are misbehaving, and appreciate a teacher who isn’t afraid to call them on it.

What does this have to do with the everyday lives of my readers? As much as I’ll agree that this society really needs a healthy dose of JESUS, there is hope for our future. The students I teach are immature, but their hearts are in the right place. They love to help out the less fortunate. They are willing to work for justice. They are willing to help each other–with school work and in life. Working with middle school students who hate writing reminds me of my love of the written word. It also reminds me that my children are pretty special, and that I’m blessed to work with truly unique creations from God.

Love your enemies? See how Leah McPhillen reacts to tragedy and romance.


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